An Illinois man won’t face charges related to a Twitter account that mocked his town’s mayor, but his roommate was charged in connection to the investigation.
A grand jury indicted 36-year-old Jacob Elliott on felony marijuana possession charges Tuesday after police said they found pot at his apartment while investigating the Twitter account, reported the Peoria Journal Star.
Officers raided the apartment Elliott shares with Jon Daniel, who created the @peoriamayor social media account that profanely described the alleged drug use and sexual habits of Mayor Jim Ardis.
The Journal Star examined emails released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request that showed Ardis and other high-ranking city officials acted quickly to unmask the Twitter account holder and pursue criminal charges.
“i absolutely will prosecute,” vowed the mayor in a March 13 email. “bring it on.”
The paper reported last week that the emails showed “an aggressive, high-priority stance taken against the Twitter account within hours of it being noticed.”
Police believed Daniel might have committed the misdemeanor offense of false impersonation and submitted search warrants to Twitter, Google, and Comcast to learn his identity.
Then they executed a search warrant at Daniel’s apartment before the state’s attorney decided that he had not broken any laws by posting the parody account.
Three other people at the home were questioned and two others were brought from their workplaces for questioning.
State’s Attorney Jerry Brady said the offense must be committed in person, rather than over the Internet, under Illinois law.
But he said those circumstances should not matter in Elliott’s drug case, which could result in a possible three-year prison term if he’s convicted.
“At the time they sought the search warrant (to get into the house), they thought they had probable cause to believe a crime had been committed,” Brady said. “Their burden is to determine probable cause, not to interpret the law. They felt the statute was violated and were acting in good faith. They sought the warrant, executed it, and in the process saw a felony quantity of marijuana.”
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