Twitter must hand over the tweets of an Occupy Wall Street protester to
Manhattan prosecutors by Friday or face civil contempt and a hefty fine,
a New York City judge said on Tuesday.
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge
Matthew Sciarrino told a lawyer for Twitter that the San
Francisco-based social media company had had 73 days to comply with his
June 30 ruling ordering it to produce nearly three months' worth of
tweets from Malcolm Harris. The Occupy member was arrested during a mass
march across the Brooklyn Bridge last October.
"You have until
Friday to cure any potential contempt," Sciarrino told Terryl Brown, the
lawyer representing Twitter. If the company does not comply by then, he
said, he would consider Twitter's earning statements for the last two
quarters in determining the appropriate fine.
district attorney's office is seeking the information to combat Harris'
defense that police led the march onto the roadway before turning around
and arresting people for disorderly conduct and impeding vehicular
traffic. Lawyers for others among the hundreds arrested October 30 on
the bridge have echoed that statement.
Prosecutors say the tweets,
which are no longer available online, may demonstrate that Harris knew
police had told protesters not to walk on the roadway.
separate rulings, Sciarrino has denied attempts by both Harris and
Twitter to quash the prosecutors' subpoena for his tweets, based on
privacy and other claims.
Brown told Sciarrino that Twitter had
not provided the tweets because it had filed an appeal of his order. But
Sciarrino said the appellate court had denied the company's application
for a stay pending the appeal and that his order still stood.
gave Brown until the end of the day on Tuesday to file a brief in
opposition to the contempt order sought by prosecutors, in advance of
Friday's court appearance. Brown said after the hearing that she planned
to do so.
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012