“The legal battle between Twitter and the federal judiciary over Special Counsel Jack Smith’s search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, @realdonaldtrump, was thrust into the public eye today. The controversy had previously been shrouded in secrecy, with the federal court of appeals upholding a $350,000 fine against the social media giant for refusing initial compliance – a new opinion, published here for the first time, shows.

Twitter’s refusal to cooperate immediately with the warrant issued on January 17, 2023, showcased the company’s commitment to user privacy and, it argued, free speech. A nondisclosure order that accompanied the warrant was the heart of the disagreement. Twitter asserted that this order infringed upon First Amendment rights and called for US District Court Judge Beryl Howell to halt the enforcement of the search warrant until their objection was addressed.

However, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the federal government. Their redacted opinion revealed that Twitter finally complied three days after the court-ordered deadline but not without facing a contempt charge and a hefty fine for the delay.”