Tuesday 15 August 2023

Twitter FINED $350,000 for refusing to hand over Trump’s social media records on time

 Social media platform Twitter, currently being rebranded as X, has been fined $350,000 for failing to comply with a Department of Justice order to hand over records related to former President Donald Trump's Twitter account.

Special Counsel John "Jack" Smith, who led the investigation against the alleged attempts of Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election, issued the warrant to Twitter requiring access to records associated with Trump's social media records. However, Twitter objected to the disclosure order, asserting that it would violate the First Amendment rights to free speech of the company.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a unanimous opinion, upheld the civil contempt sanction of the lower court against Twitter. The ruling stated that Twitter had complied with the warrant, but its failure to meet the indicated deadline resulted in a fine.

Judge Florence Pan, appointed by President Joe Biden, wrote that the reasons presented by prosecutors to keep the existence of the warrant under wraps were "unquestionably compelling" given the nature of the investigation to undermine a national election.

The news received a response from Trump through his Truth Social platform. Trump accused the office of the special counsel of attacking his civil rights and attempting to infringe upon his campaign for president in the 2024 national elections.

Trump faces multiple indictments but remains innocent until proven guilty

Trump, indicted on felony charges of conspiring to obstruct the 2020 presidential election, recently pleaded not guilty to the accusations. He became the first former president to be accused of conspiring to undermine the peaceful transfer of power to his successor.

On August 3, Trump pleaded not guilty in response to charges brought against him by Smith. These charges specifically allege that Trump was involved in a systematic campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The indictment outlines a comprehensive narrative detailing Trump's efforts to cast doubt on the election's legitimacy and retain his hold on the presidency.

According to the indictment, the storming of Trump supporters in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, culminated his attempts to subvert the election outcome. Meanwhile, in Fulton County, Georgia, there is an ongoing investigation examining whether Trump interfered with the election process.  

Moreover, a separate federal case alleges that Trump unlawfully retained classified government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, obstructing the government's efforts to retrieve them. Trump also contends with 34 felony counts from local prosecutors in New York relating to hush-money payments made to a porn star during the final stages of the 2016 election.

Despite the gravity of these charges, Attorney General Merrick Garland has vehemently denied any claims of political bias in the investigations. He has stressed that the Justice Department conducts its inquiries impartially and without influence. Biden has echoed this sentiment, claiming that he is committed to upholding the rule of law and the independence of the justice system.

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