Former President Trump

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Trump’s Twitter DMs were given to special prosecutor investigation 2020 election

Twitter was hit with a $350,000 for delaying complying with the search warrant.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Aug 16, 2023

Special counsel Jack Smith obtained an extraordinary amount of data from Twitter in his investigation of former President Donald Trump, including direct messages, unsent draft tweets, records of searches, and more.

According to newly unsealed court documents, a search warrant directed Twitter to provide to prosecutors all tweets “created, drafted, favorited/liked, or retweeted” by @realdonaldtrump, including any subsequently deleted; all direct messages he sent, received and stored in drafts; location information and all records of searches for his account between October 2020 and January 2021; and more.

The request for data came as part of Smith’s case against Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Trump was indicted by the Justice Department on Aug. 1.

Twitter was slow to comply with Smith’s warrant and was hit with a $350,000 fine for contempt of court.

It also requested that the warrant be changed to an “advance notice warrant,” in which Trump would have been notified and provided an opportunity to challenge the warrant.

The judge who issued the fine—U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell—rebuked the social media platform for taking steps to protect Trump, and asked if the delays were caused by Elon Musk “want[ing] to cozy up with the former president?”

Howell asked if the platform was pushing back against the prosecution’s request to compensate for suspending Trump “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Musk later reinstated Trump’s account but the former president has not returned to post.

“It couldn’t be that Twitter is trying to make up for the fact that it kicked Donald Trump off Twitter for some period of time that it is now standing up to protect First Amendment rights, here, is it?” asked Howell.

He added moments later: “Because it’s a little bit of an ironic position, don’t you think?”

Trump, on Truth Social, railed against the revelation that Smith and prosecutors had access to his Twitter data without his knowledge.

“How dare lowlife prosecutor, Deranged Jack Smith, break into my former Twitter account without informing me and, indeed, trying to completely hide this atrocity from me,” Trump wrote on Monday, before the documents were unsealed. “What could he possibly find out that is not already known.”

Trump was also indicted on Monday in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

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*First Published: Aug 16, 2023, 9:27 am CDT