The Department of Justice (DOJ) under former President Donald Trump subpoenaed Twitter in order to identify a person behind a parody Twitter account posing as California representative Devin Nunes’s mother.
The Justice Department, under the Trump administration, filed the subpoena against Twitter in November, seeking to investigate messages and identify the user under the “@NunesAlt” account that posed as Nunes’s “alt-mother,” The Guardian reported.
The lawsuit also reportedly had a gag order that would prevent the company from telling the account about the impending subpoena, according to The Guardian.
Newly unseal docs show the Trump Justice Dept used a grand jury to try to identify a Devin Nunes critic on Twitter, @NunesAlt, in November 2020. Twitter balked. The Biden DOJ withdrew the subpoena, a person familiar with the matter said. https://t.co/EO8ihrg7Yt
— Charlie Savage (@charlie_savage) May 18, 2021
In a motion to dismiss the subpoena, Twitter stated that the DOJ sought “names, addresses, local and long-distance telephone records” among other details related to the account, which Twitter refused to provide.
“[Nunes’s] efforts to suppress critical speech are as well-publicized as they are unsuccessful,” the motion says, pointing to a 2019 lawsuit for $250 million against the company alleging the “shadow-banning” of conservatives.
Twitter also suggested that the motion should be quashed if the subpoena was infringing on “a Twitter user’s first-amendment right to engage in anonymous speech,” adding that they were “concerned” a user was being targeted for political speech. (RELATED: Spanish Politician Suspended From Twitter For Saying ‘A Man Cannot Get Pregnant’)
The company also asked that the gag order be vacated as well, stating the order could not “withstand strict scrutiny under the first amendment.”
The account responded to the subpoena on Tuesday, according to the Guardian, stating that the court record release was “the closest thing [they were] gonna get to a Mother’s Day card.”
This is the closest thing I’m gonna get to a Mother’s Day card. https://t.co/C7aTNe8ETY
— Devin Nunes’ Alt-Mom (@NunesAlt) May 17, 2021
The user also created a GoFundMe campaign to cover court costs in an effort to fight the lawsuit, The Guardian reported.
Twitter is also suing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleging that the office was being used in retaliation for the removal of President Trump off of the platform, while Paxton claims the suit is a “coordinated de-platforming.”