By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK | Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:41am EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Twitter handed over tweets from an Occupy Wall Street protester to a New York criminal judge on Friday after months of fighting a subpoena from prosecutors.
The company surrendered the micro-blogging posts to Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino but they will remain under seal until another appeal by the protestor, Malcolm Harris, is argued next week.
Harris was one of hundreds arrested during a mass protest on the Brooklyn Bridge in October 2011. The Manhattan district attorney’s office wants the tweets, which are no longer available online, to try to undermine Harris’ argument that police officers appeared to lead protesters on to the bridge’s roadway only to arrest them for obstructing traffic.
Twitter had faced a Friday deadline to comply with the subpoena or face contempt and a substantial fine. In court on Friday, the company’s lawyers asked one last time for the judge to stay his order but he refused and they turned over the documents to him.
The surrender of Harris’ tweets comes just as the Occupy movement prepares to mark its one-year anniversary next week. Activists in the movement, which last fall sparked a national conversation about economic inequality and coined the catch phrase “We are the 99 percent,” plan to attempt to surround the New York Stock Exchange and stage a sit-in on Monday, September 17, which is one year after their first protest.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Writing by Dan Burns; Editing by Bill Trott)