OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
In a sealed court order from January 17, 2023, only recently revealed, then-Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell issued an order to Elon Musk’s X, then-Twitter, compelling the social networking giant to violate its legal notification policy, essentially placing it under a gag order.
Howell’s ruling prevented Twitter from informing former President Donald J. Trump that his account was being accessed by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
The now-unsealed order obtained and published by The Messenger fails to mention Trump by name, referring instead to a target account. However, the outlet reported, “it became public on the docket associated with prosecutors’ obtaining a search warrant for the former president’s Twitter account and an order gagging the company from disclosing it.”
In the text of the order, Howell wrote, “The Court finds reasonable grounds to believe that such disclosure will result in destruction of or tampering with evidence, intimidation of potential witnesses, and serious jeopardy to the investigation.”
In the same 403-page order, Howell also suggested that the 45th president of the United States and the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 election would “flee from prosecution,” an allegation that drew so much condemnation that prosecutors were forced to withdraw it.
According to The Messenger, citing sealed hearing records wrote that Twitter attorney George Varghese told the court, “Risk of flight for a former President of the United States doesn’t make a lot of sense.” Judge Howell replied to him, “I would agree with that.” In the unsealed documentation, it was revealed that in a legal brief, Smith even contended that the disclosure of the Twitter warrant to Trump “could precipitate violence as occurred following the public disclosure of the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago.”
Under the ownership of Musk, Twitter fought the order and lost, earning the firm a punishing $350,000 in legal sanctions for its refusal to comply. The unsealed filings revealed that Smith and his team were only able to gain access to 32 messages and that the social network resisted for nearly six months, with Smith obtaining them in August after all legal options were exhausted.
The anti-Trump prosecutors wrote in a filing that Trump’s alleged “pattern of obstructive conduct amply supports the district court’s conclusion that the former President presents a significant risk of tampering with evidence, seeking to influence or intimidate potential witnesses, and ‘otherwise seriously jeopardizing’ the Government’s ongoing investigations.”
As reported by Explain America, Conservative attorney and author Mark Levin said in June that Trump shouldn’t have to go to trial due to “prosecutorial misconduct.” In posts to GETTR and Twitter, he wrote that Smith ruined his case against Trump.
“There must have been several scores of leaks against Trump involving testimony, documents, audio, etc., and they’re all obviously coming from the government. Trump’s lawyers need to file an immediate motion, with the long list of leaks as an exhibit, asking that the entire case be dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct and the government’s effort to influence the jury pool. Moreover, I would insist that the court determine whether DOJ has opened investigations into these felonies. THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW!” he said.
“Jack Smith must go to prison for this,” he added.
In August, Trump posted to his TruthSocial network, “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. What could he possibly find out that is not already known. Just like the early morning raid of Mar-a-Lago! Why isn’t the DOJ raiding Crooked Joe Biden, the most CORRUPT (and Incompetent!) President in the history of the United States?”