Prosecutors seek records related to Inauguration Day protest


Prosecutors seek records related to Inauguration Day protest

More than 200 people were arrested; six police officers were injured. In an effort to track down anybody who rioted or engaged in violence on that day, the Justice Department has gotten a search warrant demanding that the site's host company, DreamHost, provide records related to their investigations.

Dreamhost released the DOJ's warrant request and its response on August 14, so the transparency community in Washington is just beginning to react. The Justice Department alleges that some suspects had ties to DisruptJ20.

Now, as almost 200 people face decades in prison over the destruction in downtown D.C. that day, the U.S. Attorney's Office of D.C. wants to know who visited the website. But prosecutors, in court documents, argued that the request was constitutional and there was no reason for DreamHost not to comply.

Accordingly, DreamHost states, its legal team has filed an argument in opposition to the DOJ's search warrant, claiming it violates the Fourth Amendment.

US President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address. Specifically, DreamHost believes handing over all data associated with the #DisruptJ20 website would result in the government identifying visitors who are purely engaged in peaceful political speech.

DreamHost is now refusing to comply with the request and is due in court later this month.

Damaging property and rioting are against the law. "If you visited the site, if you left a message, they want to know who and where you are - whether or not you did anything but watch TV on inauguration day". "And when the government refused, DreamHost went to court". A hearing on the situation is set for Friday in Washington, DC Superior Court.

DreamHost's general counsel, Chris Ghazarian, reportedly found this to be well beyond the remit of a typical search warrant. "It offered the government a chance to narrow the scope of the warrant".

Hundreds of protests were held nationwide during the inauguration weekend, January 20-22, including the massive women's marches, largely without incident.

'But the [constitution] was created to prohibit fishing expeditions like this'.

The company feels the DOJ has crossed the line, and is asking for way too much information.

It also suggested that "a particular customer" was the subject of the warrant, but does not explain why it needed the information of 1.3 million visitors. Its name refers to J20, or January 20 - the day President Trump was sworn in as commander-in-chief.

"It's a glorified fishing expedition", said Attorney Stephanie Lacambra with digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

He said that the government appears to be investigating a conspiracy to riot, "but it's doing it in a blunt manner that does not take into account the significant First Amendment interests".