An Occupy Wall Street protester cannot block Manhattan prosecutors from reviewing the tweets he allegedly sent from his Twitter account as he and other demonstrators marched over the Brooklyn Bridge last fall. Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. (See Profile), sitting in Manhattan, on April 20 denied defendant Malcolm Harris’ effort to quash a subpoena the Manhattan district attorney’s office sent to Twitter. “The widely believed (though mistaken) notion that any disclosure of a user’s information would first be requested from the user and require approval by the user is understandable, but wrong,” the judge wrote in People v. Harris, 2011NY080152, ordering an in camera inspection before distribution to the prosecution and defense.
Harris is charged with disorderly conduct in the Oct. 1, 2011, march over the bridge that resulted in more than 700 arrests. Prosecutors sought account information for “@destructuremal,” alleged to be Harris’ account, along with that account’s tweets from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31, 2011. The information is necessary, they claim, to counter Harris’ anticipated defense that police led him and others onto the bridge’s roadway.
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