Earlier this year, Special Counsel Jack Smith secured a warrant compelling X, the company once known as Twitter, to surrender data and records tied to Donald Trump’s account.
The details were revealed in a court decision that was recently unsealed that’s part of an expansive inquiry into Trump’s conduct following his 2020 electoral loss and his management of classified information.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday confirmed a prior court’s judgment, holding the social media firm in contempt and levying a $350,000 fine. Judge Florence Pan emphasized the court had adhered to all necessary protocols, including offering the company a chance to present its case and evade penalties, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Trump expressed his outrage on his Truth Social platform, accusing “Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ” of a covert assault on his civil liberties. X did not immediately comment on the matter.
Smith, designated by Attorney General Merrick Garland, is probing Trump’s attempts to reverse his electoral defeat and his control of classified materials. Trump faces federal charges in both Florida and Washington, D.C., and has entered not guilty pleas.
The warrant required the submission of data and records associated with Trump’s Twitter handle. Alongside this, a nondisclosure order was issued, barring X from revealing the warrant’s existence, a move that X contested in court on First Amendment grounds.
“Just found out that Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ secretly attacked my Twitter account, making it a point not to let me know about this major “hit” on my civil rights,” said Trump on Truth Social. “My Political Opponent is going CRAZY trying to infringe on my Campaign for President. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Does the First Amendment still exist?”
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U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell backed Smith’s stance in February. X’s failure to meet the warrant’s deadline by three days led to the court’s decision. The proposed sanctions, escalating at $50,000 a day, were accepted by Howell, considering Twitter’s substantial value and Musk’s immense wealth.
It was reported that Musk attempted to tip off Trump when the special counsel sent X the subpoena to get into Trump’s X account, according to the unseal legal filings.
Trump had put out a statement going after those who go after him on Truth Social.
“IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!,” said Trump on Truth Social.
Smith filed for a protective order in response to Trump’s comments on Truth Social.
“The defendant has proposed an unreasonable order to facilitate his plan to litigate this case in the media to detriment of litigating this case in the courtroom,” said Smith in a written response about Trump’s actions.
Produced in association with Benzinga