The lawyer for the Occupy Wall Street protester whose Tweets were subpoenaed by the Manhattan district attorney said the protester is ready to plead guilty to his top charge of disorderly conduct in exchange for an agreement that he wouldn’t need to serve more time. Also as part of the plea deal, Malcolm Harris would reserve his right to appeal the rulings in the criminal case, including the finding that he didn’t have standing to challenge subpoenas for his Twitter information, said Harris’ attorney, Martin Stolar. Stolar said the deal is a way “to preserve the issue for appellate review because it is an issue that has such significance in this day and age.”
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. (See Profile) agreed to the terms of the deal during a bench conference, Stolar said. But a spokeswoman for the district attorney, Joan Vollero, said, “No plea deal has been reached with this office.”
Stolar said Harris could plead guilty tomorrow. His trial was scheduled for Dec. 12. He faced a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail or a $250 fine, Stolar said. In exchange for pleading guilty, his sentence would be limited to time served, as Harris was in custody for several hours after his arrest, Stolar said.
Harris was one of about 700 people arrested in a march over the Brooklyn Bridge last year during an Occupy Wall Street protest. The D.A.’s office subpoenaed Harris’ Twitter information, including more than three months of his Tweets and his subscriber information, to counter his anticipated defense that police led him and others onto the road where they were arrested. Twitter, which is appealing Sciarrino’s standing ruling, turned over the documents in September to the judge, who gave the relevant information to prosecutors.
Separately, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Huff (See Profile) has denied Harris’ Article 78 petition seeking to overturn Sciarrino’s standing ruling. She said Harris was “attempting to circumvent the appeals process” by bringing the proceeding in civil court.