Court documents unsealed on Wednesday reveal that in January 2023, Special Counsel Jack Smith secured a search warrant for the Twitter account of former President Donald Trump, forcing X (formerly Twitter) to spend $350,000 to resist a court order preventing them from disclosing the search to Trump.
Reacting to the news on Truth Social, Trump stated: “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.”
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!
Special Counsel Smith, currently examining the former president for potential disruptions related to the 2020 election's peaceful transition, directed the warrant at Twitter (now referred to as X) for specific data and records associated with the "@realDonaldTrump" account.
The court documents state: ″The district court found probable cause to search the Twitter account for evidence of criminal offenses. 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 Daily Wire reported.
To ensure the investigation's integrity, the Justice Department secured a "nondisclosure order," which meant Twitter was restricted from alerting Trump about the warrant. As outlined in the 34-page opinion by a three-judge panel, "the whole point of the nondisclosure order was to avoid tipping off the former President about the warrant’s existence."
The panel consisted of Judge Florence Pan and Michelle Childs, both appointed during President Joe Biden's tenure, and Judge Cornelia Pillard, appointed by former President Barack Obama. The opinion also highlighted that Twitter was free to discuss general concerns about such warrants and share its views on the January 6 investigation.
Initially resisting the warrant due to First Amendment concerns, Twitter later complied after facing a $350,000 sanction for their resistance, as imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell. Twitter also proposed that Judge Howell should have waited on the warrant until their appeal was considered.
In a separate yet related event, former President Trump was indicted on several felony charges connected to the 2020 election. Trump, emphasizing his perspective on the indictment, pleaded not guilty to all charges.