The Justice Department has withdrawn a subpoena filed in the final weeks of the Trump administration that sought information about a Twitter user who parodied Rep. Devin Nunes, according to court documents released Tuesday. The California Republican has spent years seeking to unmask such anonymous users and sue them for defamation.
Court papers unsealed Monday in Washington revealed that Twitter was seeking to quash the Justice Department’s subpoena for information related to the user of an account, @NunesAlt, that pokes fun at Nunes (R-Tulare). The social media giant argued that it believed the Justice Department might have been trying to help Nunes in his long-running campaign to learn the identities of such users so he could sue.
Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordered the Justice Department to make public by Wednesday its response to Twitter’s motion, which had been filed under seal on March 10. The docket and filings did not indicate that the Justice Department had withdrawn the subpoena, which was issued in November when the department was overseen by President Trump’s attorney general, William Barr.
The Justice Department on Tuesday afternoon complied with Howell’s directive, making public court papers it filed under seal on March 19 that urged the judge to reject Twitter’s motion because it was moot — prosecutors had informed the social media company two days earlier that it had withdrawn the subpoena.
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