In a murder case, American justice asks for a name Twitter who is silent by virtue of the sacrosanct freedom of expression. For the Judge Donna Ryu, Federal Court in Oakland, Calif., the argument no longer holds.
This Tuesday, October 5, she gave Twitter formal notice, forcing it by October 20 to disclose who is behind the @whysprtech account. The user is believed to be behind a bogus FBI report that was used to fuel a conspiracy theory about the death of Seth Rich four years ago.
Wikileaks, confidential emails and political assassination?
Employed in the National Committee of the Democratic Party (DNC), the man was shot dead in July 2016, not far from his home in Washington. The perpetrator of the murder has so far not been identified. The official investigation concluded that an armed robbery would have gone wrong, but several sites and media identified as conservative have suggested that it could be a political assassination – at the heart of which is said to be Wikileaks.
Defamation proceedings were therefore brought by the victim’s brother, Aaron Rich, against the media that had relayed this theory, including America First media and The Washington Times.
Secret documents from the Democratic Party
According to the conspiracy theory, which is not supported by any formal evidence, Seth Rich would have communicated internal emails from the DNC at Wikileaks, the secret documents publication platform created by Julian Assange, shortly before the presidential election of 2016. He was then allegedly discovered and murdered. The victim’s brother, Aaron Rich, seeks to unmask the owner of the @whysprtech account. He wants him to be called as a witness in this case.
“Freedom of expression” does not hold
Until now, Twitter refused to say who was behind the since-deactivated @whysprtech account, relying on free speech which guarantees the United States the right to anonymity as well. At the foot of the wall, Twitter now has just under two weeks to deliver the information.