Court Should Not Permit Trump Administration to Identify DisruptJ20.org Emailers, Says Public Citizen in Legal Brief

Sept. 7, 2017

Court Should Not Permit Trump Administration to Identify DisruptJ20.org Emailers, Says Public Citizen in Legal Brief

Public Citizen Attorney Available for Comment

Public Citizen today filed a brief asking a court to exclude email communications and a listserv of email addresses from documents subpoenaed by the U.S. Department of Justice in its investigation of 230 people arrested on the day of the president’s inauguration.

Public Citizen told the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that the U.S. government lacks an adequate basis for seeking the identities of anonymous “Does” who had an email connection with the DisruptJ20.org domain, or were part of at least one of its listservs. Moreover, the First Amendment protects the right to speak and read anonymously, the brief explains.

Additionally, the brief continues, there is reason to question whether the government has shown probable cause to believe that the DisruptJ20.org website shows evidence of criminal intent or the planning of criminal activity. Public Citizen last week filed a motion to intervene on behalf of three Does after Chief Judge Robert E. Morin said the platform company DreamHost must hand over some user information about the website’s visitors.

Today’s brief asks the court to pause proceedings until the anonymous users can file an appeal if the court does not exclude email communications or listserv addresses from the warrant.

Public Citizen attorney Paul Alan Levy, who authored the motion to intervene and today’s brief, is available for comment.

The brief and motion to intervene are available here.