Malcolm Harris, who has been in a battle with prosecutors over the privacy of his tweets, has plea deal withdrawn by judge
An Occupy Wall Street protester who has been fighting with prosecutors to keep some of his tweets private looks likely to face trail next week after a judge withdrew his offer of a plea deal.
When he appeared in court on Friday, Malcolm Harris had expected to be sentenced to time served for disorderly conduct during a demonstration on the Brooklyn bridge in October 2011.
Instead, he was told that the case will go to trial on 12 December as planned. It follows the refusal by the judge to rule over a motion concerning whether his tweets could be used in the event of a trial.
The move raises the prospect that a series of tweets by Harris could become public. Prosecutors want to use them as evidence, but Harris’s lawyer fears may be used to prosecute others.
Harris, 23, was one of hundreds arrested in the mass march across the Brooklyn bridge at the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests last year. His case has received heightened media attention due the questions raised about who owns the rights to messages posted on Twitter.
Prosecutors say tweets posted by Harris show that the defendant was aware that he was breaking police orders relating to the protest. The New York district attorney’s office issued a subpoena to Twitter in January, calling on the firm to hand over “any and all user information, including email address, as well as any and all tweets posted” between 15 September and 31 October 2011.
Harris initially attempted to block the move, but was told that he had no proprietary interest to his own messages. Twitter also fought the subpoena, noting that its own terms and conditions explicitly state that users “retain their right to any content they submit, post or display on or through”.
But New York judge Matthew Sciarrino rejected the company’s arguments, and ordered Twitter to hand over the messages to the court. Twitter eventually complied with the demand, although the tweets have so far remained sealed.
In attempting to plead guilty Friday, Harris’s legal team were hoping to settle the criminal charge while keeping alive an appeal over the legality of the DA’s subpoena. But Sciarrino refused to rule on a motion relating to whether the tweets could be used as evidence in a trial, saying that it was the preserve of the trial judge alone to decide.
As such, the case looks likely to go to trial on 12 December. Prosecutors in the case are seeking a sentence of 10 days community service. Responding to the development, Harris tweeted: “Woah, that was not what was supposed to happen.”
“Show trial it is,” he added in a subsequent message.
Security guard interrupts COVID-denier’s speech and quits on the spot: ‘She’s trivializing the Holocaust’
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“I feel like Sophie Scholl, since I've been active in the resistance, giving speeches, going to protests, distributing flyers," the woman says to the audience, referring to the famous "White Rose" resistance fighter who opposed the Nazis during World War II.
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"Look, I don't know what it's going to take because really it should have happened weeks ago," said Navarro. "States are beginning to certify their results. Electors vote in a couple of weeks, but you know, Whoopi, I keep talking about history and how history is going to judge this. There are going to be books written about this. It's going to be studied by school kids in 30 years and 40 years."
Trump quits treaty allowing US to fly reconnaissance missions over Russia – will destroy planes
President Donald Trump on Sunday formally exited the Open Skies Treaty, but now he's moving to scrap the planes, ensuring President Joe Biden will not be able to re-enter the program easily.
The Open Skies Treaty is an 18-year old agreement designed to allow the U.S. to fly reconnaissance missions over Russia to ensure the Pentagon and the President are informed of military deployments and movements. First proposed in 1992, the treaty was formalized in 2002. 34 nations are party to the agreement, and all are allowed to fly unarmed aircraft over any member nation. The goal is to ensure transparency and mutual understanding.