NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - Prosecutors have
subpoenaed the Twitter records of an arrested Occupy Wall Street
protester, seeking his account information and tweets he sent
around the time of his arrest last fall.
Jeff Rae, 31, who was arrested during a mass protest on the
Brooklyn Bridge in October, posted the subpoena on his Twitter
The subpoena seeks all of Rae's tweets from Sept. 15 -- two
days before the Occupy movement began in downtown Manhattan --
through Oct. 31, along with account and contact information for
The subpoena, which Twitter emailed to Rae, is dated March
A faxed cover sheet posted by Rae indicates that the
Manhattan District Attorney's office subpoenaed Twitter for five
different user accounts. It was not immediately clear whether
the other four are also Occupy defendants, though in January,
prosecutors filed a subpoena seeking similar information from
Malcolm Harris, another arrested protester.
"I was a little bit blown away," Rae said. "It's interesting
that in places like Egypt our leaders applaud people for using
Twitter and social media for their movements. Here, I'm being
subpoenaed for using social media."
He said his lawyer, Paul Mills of the National Lawyers
Guild, would file a motion to quash.
Martin Stolar, a Guild lawyer who represents Harris, filed a
motion to quash that subpoena in Manhattan criminal court. The
motion is still pending.
It was not entirely clear what evidence prosecutors hoped to
collect from the tweets.
But in a court filing in response to Stolar's motion,
prosecutors said Harris' tweets were "directly germane to the
contested issue of defendant's state of mind at the time he
chose to defy police orders and block the Brooklyn Bridge."
"The reason the subpoena requested defendant's Tweets is
that defendant has made clear through various public statements
that he was well aware of the police instructions that day,"
wrote Assistant District Attorney Lee Langston.
The district attorney's office declined to comment.
A Twitter spokesman would not comment on the new subpoenas
but noted that the company's policy is to notify users about any
law enforcement requests for their information "to help users
protect their rights."
Rae is one of nearly 2,000 Occupy protesters who have been
charged in Manhattan since the movement's beginning; nearly all
face misdemeanor charges, such as blocking vehicular traffic or
A special Manhattan criminal court has been set up to handle
Occupy cases. Many have been resolved through a type of
conditional dismissal that wipes the charges away if the
defendant stays out of trouble for six months, but hundreds of
protesters have chosen to move ahead with trials.
The National Lawyers Guild represents many of the
(Reporting by Joseph Ax)
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