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Revealed: Special counsel accessed Trump’s private Twitter direct messages, despite platform's attempt to block access

 August 17, 2023

The social media giant once known as Twitter, now rebranded as X Corp. reportedly attempted to prevent Special Counsel Jack Smith from accessing former President Donald Trump's direct messages.

However, unsealed court documents reveal that the special counsel's team not only managed to obtain these messages but also acquired additional data, Fox News reported.

X Corp.'s Obstruction and the Court's Inquiry

X Corp.'s lawyers worked to obstruct and delay Smith's effort in January and February.

This effort caused U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell to question if the X owner, and former CEO, Elon Musk, was attempting to align himself with Trump.

Despite these legal skirmishes, the special counsel successfully gained access to the information sought.

Court's Frustration Leads to Penalties

Records highlight Judge Howell's growing frustration with the company's legal representatives, eventually culminating in her finding the former Twitter in contempt of court and imposing a fine of $350,000 in February.

According to the 34-page court decision, "Although Twitter ultimately complied with the warrant, the company did not fully produce the requested information until three days after a court-ordered deadline."

The decision added, "The district court thus held Twitter in contempt and imposed a $350,000 sanction for its delay," Politico reported.

The courtroom transcripts illustrate the judge's perturbed questions  designedto understand the company's intentions.

"Is this to make Donald Trump feel like he is a particularly welcomed new renewed user of Twitter?" Howell asked at one point.

The legal team replied that Twitter focused solely on "litigating its constitutional rights."

But Howell continued to press the issue, asking, "Is it because the new CEO wants to cozy up with the former president?"

Comprehensive Data Handover

Ultimately, X Corp. was compelled to hand over a wide array of data related to Trump's "@realdonaldtrump" account.

This included not just the drafted and published tweets but also those that were liked or retweeted.

The handover also included searches concerning the 2020 election, login devices, IP addresses, and associated account information.

The data handover is connected to the third criminal indictment against Trump, relating to his efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.

The former president also faces three other indictments about alleged payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, business activities in New York City, and another election-related indictment in Georgia.