Prosecutors feared that Trump could spark “violence”

Federal prosecutors warned in April that Donald Trump’s public disclosure of their efforts to access his Twitter account could spark unrest as his doing so in the past had, newly unsealed court filings show.

Notifying Trump of the search warrant “could precipitate violence as occurred following the public disclosure of the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago,” the prosecutors for special counsel Jack Smith warned in the document. As Politico notes, Trump’s public announcement of the FBI search of his resort club was followed by an uptick in threats against federal law enforcement and culminated in the fatal shooting of a man who attempted to infiltrate a bureau building in Cincinnati.

Smith also argued that Trump introduces a “significant risk of tampering with evidence, seeking to influence or intimidate potential witnesses, and ‘otherwise seriously jeopardizing’ the Government’s ongoing investigations.”

“These are not hypothetical considerations in this case,” the prosecutors wrote in the 71-page, April 21 brief. “Following his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, the former President propagated false claims of fraud (including swearing to false allegations in a federal court filing), pressured state and federal officials to violate their legal duties, and retaliated against those who did not comply with his demands, culminating in violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.”

The newly unveiled filings are part of the months-long legal dispute between Twitter, now known as X, and the special counsel over whether the company could inform Trump of the investigators’ search warrant before complying with the subpoena. Twitter, then newly purchased by Elon Musk, argued that Trump’s private messages on the platform could be covered by executive privilege and wanted to give him the opportunity to use it. But U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell rejected the argument and ultimately held Twitter in contempt of court, fining the company $350,000 for missing the ordered compliance deadline.

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