Criminal Justice

Lawyer Seeks to Quash Government Subpoena Seeking Twitter Account Info


A lawyer for Malcolm Harris, who under the Twitter handle @destructuremal allegedly started a false rumor that the band Radiohead would perform at Occupy Wall Street, today asked the court to quash a government subpoena seeking information from the social media account.

Harris, a writer, previously stated that he started the Radiohead rumor to attract a crowd at New York’s Occupy Wall Street site, the New York Times’ City Room blog reports. In October, Harris was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct as protesters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office faxed the subpoena to Twitter in January. It sought “any and all user information” from the account between Sept. 15 and Dec. 31, 2011.

Martin R. Stolar, Harris’ lawyer, in his motion today told the Manhattan Criminal Court that the subpoena did not comply with federal laws regarding information requests from electronic communications services, and it also failed to comply with rules for delivering a subpoena outside New York. Twitter is based in San Francisco, with additional offices and servers in New York.

Harris is still Tweeting from his @destructuremal account. Last week, he tweeted: “I plan to subpoena the band Radiohead to testify as to the reliability of the information on my Twitter.”

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