Special Counsel Jack Smith secured a search warrant for the Twitter account of former President Donald Trump in January 2023, new unsealed court filings revealed on Wednesday.
“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,” Trump reacted to the news 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? Did Deranged Jack Smith tell the Unselects to DESTROY & DELETE all evidence? These are DARK DAYS IN AMERICA!”
Smith, who launched an ongoing criminal investigation into the former president for alleged interference with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 election, obtained the warrant directed at Twitter, now known as X, to produce “data and records” related to the “@realDonaldTrump” Twitter account.
″The district court found probable cause to search the Twitter account for evidence of criminal offenses,” the ruling says. “Moreover, the district court found that there were ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ that disclosing the warrant to former President Trump ‘would seriously jeopardize the ongoing investigation’ by giving him ’an opportunity to destroy evidence, change patterns of behavior . . . or notify confederates.”
The Justice Department also obtained a “nondisclosure order,” which prohibited Twitter from informing Trump about the warrant.
“[T]he whole point of the nondisclosure order was to avoid tipping off the former President about the warrant’s existence,” a three-judge panel ruled in the 34-page opinion. The judges include Judge Florence Pan and Michelle Childs, appointed by President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama appointee Judge Cornelia Pillard.
The judges also noted that Twitter “remained free to raise general concerns about warrants or nondisclosure orders, and to speak publicly about the January 6 investigation.”
Twitter appealed the warrant initially, arguing the “nondisclosure order” violated the First Amendment. But the social media platform ultimately complied after a three-day deadline when a federal judge held the company in contempt and imposed a $350,000 sanction on the company for resisting, according to court documents.
Twitter also argued U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, the federal judge overseeing the matter at the time, should have blocked the warrant until resolving the appeal.
Last week, a federal jury indicted Trump on multiple felony charges related to the 2020 presidential election. The indictment included Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding, An Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding, and Conspiracy Against Rights.
But Trump, who called the indictment a “pathetic attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their weaponized Department of Justice to interfere with the 2024 Presidential Election,” pleaded not guilty to all four charges.