X Corp hit with fine for not turning over data on Donald Trump

X Corp hit with fine for not turning over data on Donald Trump

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X Corp., formerly Twitter Inc., has just been fined $350,000 for contempt of court after the social media giant refused to hand over Donald Trump’s Twitter data to a special counsel investigation.

Trump (pictured), who was something of a Twitter addict during his presidency, with a massive following, was banned from the platform after being accused of inciting violence relating to the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill attack. Prior to Elon Musk taking over the company, Musk called the ban “stupid” and promised to reinstate the account once the acquisition went through. He did just that, although by then, Trump had already created his own social media company, Truth Social.

The fine today is concerned with the Special Counsel Jack Smith, whose office in January issued a warrant to X in its effort to find “evidence of criminal offenses” somewhere in Trump’s account. This came to light today when a federal appeals court in Washington affirmed a lower court’s decision that held X in contempt of court for not immediately complying with the warrant. X did hand over some data but was accused of being tardy. The records were also said to be “incomplete.”

The company refused to allow the investigation into Trump’s data due to a nondisclosure order in the warrant that prohibited them from telling Trump about the search. Lawyers at X argued that such an order “violated the company’s First Amendment right to communicate with its subscriber.”

They added that it would “preclude the former President from asserting executive privilege to shield communications made using his Twitter account.” The court ruled that disclosing the warrant to Trump provided “an opportunity to destroy evidence” and “change patterns of behavior.”

Trump, who has been indicted three times and is being investigated at the state and federal level for a host of matters concerning his political and business career, stands accused of trying to overturn the election result when President Joe Biden won. Today he took his Truth Social account to air his views, writing that the Justice Department has “secretly attacked” his X account. He said the investigation is an attempt to “infringe” on his bid to take his seat at the White House in 2024.

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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