The district court held X in contempt for missing the deadline and the social media platform was fined $350,000.
Newly released court documents reveal that federal prosecutors had obtained a search warrant for 2024 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s Twitter account in January for their investigation into Trump’s alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election, but X, formerly known as Twitter, under owner Elon Musk, refused to give over the information.
The search warrant had been sent with a nondisclosure order prohibiting X from notifying anyone about the existence or contents of the warrant.
The court document said that X had initially delayed the production of the materials required while undertaking unsuccessful litigation objections to the nondisclosure order.
While the social media platform ultimately complied with the warrant and handed over the requested information three days after the deadline, the district court held X in contempt and was fined $350,000.
The revelation came as part of an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in which the court upheld a lower court’s ruling on the case.
“In sum, we affirm the district court’s rulings in all respects. The district court properly rejected Twitter’s First Amendment challenge to the nondisclosure order. Moreover, the district court acted within the bounds of its discretion to manage its docket when it
declined to stay its enforcement of the warrant while the First Amendment claim was litigated. Finally, the district court followed the appropriate procedures before finding Twitter in contempt of court – including giving Twitter an opportunity to be heard and a chance to purge its contempt to avoid sanctions. Under the circumstances, the court did not abuse its discretion when it ultimately held Twitter in contempt and imposed a $350,000 sanction,” the ruling stated.
X argued in its appeal that the nondisclosure order had violated the First Amendment and the Stored Communications act, and that the district court should have issued a stay of the enforcement of the search warrant until the objections to the nondisclosure order were solved.