Elon Musk’s social media company, X, formerly known as Twitter has been fined $350,000 over its failure to provide information on Ex-US President Donald Trump’s account to the special counsel investigating the events leading to the Jannuar 6, 2021, attack at Capitol.
It was reported by Washington Post that an appellate court ruling unsealed on Wednesday, 9th of August,2023 that a lower court judge Beryl A. Howell in March ruled that Twitter had to comply with a sealed search warrant requested by the special counsel and pay $350,000 for missing a court-ordered deadline by three days.
It was also discovered that the judge had found a reason to file that the search warrant be made public because Trump might engage in obstructive conduct or flee prosecution.
However, Twitter had reportedly appealed the decision of the lower court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which in July upheld Judge Howell’s ruling.
Trump has now been charged with with four felonies related to his attempts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election, the appellate decision has been unsealed.
Twitter which is now been fined for not adhering to the lower court ruling has argued that it should not have to hand over the records until the issue was resolved, but Howell who took sides with the government found Twitter in contempt for failing to comply with the search warrant.
Twitter was given until 5 p.m. on February 7 to produce the records, with sanctions of $50,000 per day, to double every day that Twitter did not comply. Twitter produced the records three days later.
This lead to Howell upholding the nondisclosure order and imposed a $350,000 contempt sanction on Twitter the following month.
The case has now been ruled by the appellate court.
The appellate court ruled that the lower court judge, Howell, found out that there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that disclosing the warrant to Trump “would seriously jeopardize the ongoing investigation” by giving him “an opportunity to destroy evidence, change patterns of behavior, [or] notify confederates”.