Wednesday, October 4, 2023

DOJ Blamed Trump for Lone-Wolf Attack on Cincinnati FBI Office

'Smith said that disclosing the Twitter search warrant “could precipitate violence as occurred following the public disclosure of the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago"...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The Justice Department blamed former President Donald Trump for a lone-wolf gunman’s attack on an FBI field office in Cincinnati last year, according to newly unsealed court documents.

The DOJ cited the April 2022 attack in Cincinnati as a reason to keep secret a search warrant Special Prosecutor Jack Smith sought for Trump’s Twitter account.

The Cincinnati incident entailed 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer allegedly trying to breach the visitor screening area at the FBI’s Cincinnati office with an AR-15-style rifle and a nail gun.  Shiffer fled when agents confronted him, and was later killed by a state trooper who found him along a highway and got into a gunbattle, authorities said at the time.

The Shiffer incident came shortly after Trump announced that the DOJ had a search warrant for his Mar-a-Lago property—and prosecutor Smith directly linked the two events.

In an April 21 legal brief—which was just unsealed Friday—Smith said that disclosing the Twitter search warrant “could precipitate violence as occurred following the public disclosure of the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago.”

Smith was apparently referring to the fact that Shiffer posted threats against federal agents after Trump made the Mar-a-Lago search warrant public.

No evidence has been produced that Shiffer’s threats were a direct response to Trump making the search warrant public.

Additionally, it was revealed after Shiffer’s death that the FBI was already investigating him for months prior to the incident. Shiffer’s background—a U.S. security clearance holder who served on a nuclear submarine—raised more questions about why he apparently snapped last April.

Nevertheless, the Obama-appointed District Judge Beryl Howell granted the search warrant in secrecy in January. It was only made public after Trump was charged in Washington DC over alleged election interference.

The documents unsealed Friday related to Twitter’s attempt to overturn a $350,000 fine, which Judge Howell imposed on the company for failing to comply with the warrant in a timely manner.

Twitter had delayed on the warrant over concerns that it violated the company’s First Amendment right to communicate with Trump, and that Trump may have legal standing to raise his executive-privilege rights to block the warrant. Twitter further argued that it shouldn’t have to comply with the DOJ’s warrant until the non-disclosure issue was resolved.

However, an appeals court upheld all of Howell’s decisions, including the $350,000 fine.

“In sum, we affirm the district court’s rulings in all respects. The district court properly rejected Twitter’s First Amendment challenge to the nondisclosure order,” the appeals court said in a July decision that was published in August.

“Moreover, the district court acted within the bounds of its discretion to manage its docket when it declined to stay its enforcement of the warrant while the First Amendment claim was litigated,” the court added.

“Finally, the district court followed the appropriate procedures before finding Twitter in contempt of court—including giving Twitter an opportunity to be heard and a chance to purge its contempt to avoid sanctions. Under the circumstances, the court did not abuse its discretion when it ultimately held Twitter in contempt and imposed a $350,000 sanction.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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