Court filings reveal the behind-the-scenes battle between prosecutors and Twitter over a search warrant for the former president’s account
The Department of Justice argued in April to keep former President Donald Trump in the dark regarding a warrant for the contents of his Twitter account, out of fear that Trump’s reaction to the search could “precipitate violence” against law enforcement, Politico reported on Friday.
Newly unsealed court filings reveal that the DOJ, which sought a search warrant for Trump’s account in January, argued in April that Trump engaged in a pattern of “obstructive conduct” and presented “a significant risk of tampering with evidence, seeking to influence or intimidate potential witnesses, and ‘otherwise seriously jeopardizing’ the Government’s ongoing investigations.” Prosecutors further claimed that informing Trump of the warrant “could precipitate violence as occurred following the public disclosure of the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago.”
In August of last year, Trump himself announced on social media that the FBI had executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago residence as part of an investigation into his post-presidency handling of classified materials. Days later, a gunman identified as Ricky Shiffer attempted to enter the FBI’s office in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shiffer was shot and killed by law enforcement.
When Twitter was served the warrant in January, the company argued against an accompanying nondisclosure order that prevented them from informing the president of the search. According to court documents filed in May, Twitter “initially delayed production of the materials required by the search warrant while it unsuccessfully litigated objections to the nondisclosure order. Although Twitter ultimately complied with the warrant, the company did not fully produce the requested information until three days after a court-ordered deadline. The district court thus held Twitter in contempt and imposed a $350,000 sanction for its delay.”
News of the search remained under seal until last month. When the dispute became public Trump took to Truth Social to accuse “Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ” of secretly attacking his Twitter account.
“[They made] it a point not to let me know about this major “hit” on my civil rights,” he added. “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?”
Trump was indicted in June in on federal charges related to his handling of classified documents. His case is expected to go to trial in May of 2024.