Twitter hands over messages at heart of Occupy case

Brooklyn bridge Occupy Wall Street protests spilled on to the Brooklyn Bridge in October 2011

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Legal pressure has forced Twitter to hand over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester.

Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws.

If the messages were not handed over on 14 September, Twitter would have been in contempt of court and faced substantial fines.

The Manhattan district attorney's office wanted the tweets to help its case against protester Malcolm Harris.

It believes the messages undermine Mr Harris' claim that New York police led protesters on to the Brooklyn Bridge to make it easier to arrest them. It claims the messages will show Mr Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded.

Mr Harris has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

As the large number of messages are no longer available online, the Manhattan district attorney took legal action to win access to Mr Harris' account and three months' worth of messages.

Mr Harris was one of about 700 protesters arrested during demonstrations in New York in October 2011. The protests spilled on to the Brooklyn Bridge and Mr Harris claims that police action prompted protesters to move on to the bridge so they could then be arrested for obstructing traffic.

Twitter has now surrendered the messages to the court where the trial is taking place, but they will remain uninspected while an appeal lodged by Mr Harris' lawyer is heard. A hearing on the appeal is due to be heard within seven days.

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