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Judge orders Twitter to reveal identity behind account that started Seth Rich conspiracy

Judge orders Twitter to reveal identity behind account that started Seth Rich conspiracy
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A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Twitter to reveal who was behind the account that allegedly spread the conspiracy about the death of slain Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu in Oakland, Calif., ordered that Twitter must turn over information about the account @whyspertech.

That account is accused of forging FBI documents falsely linking Rich’s killing to the WikiLeaks hack of Democratic emails and provided them to Fox News.

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NPR first reported on the order. 

Twitter has sought to keep the identity of the user secret, arguing that disclosing that information would violate the First Amendment.

Ryu set an Oct. 20 deadline for the information to be turned over to the court. The information would then be available to attorneys for Aaron Rich, Rich’s brother.

A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment on the order.

Aaron Rich filed the defamation lawsuit against former Fox News guest Ed Butowsky, right-wing activist Matt Couch and his media company, and the Washington Times.

Fox News ran a story in May 2017 claiming that Seth Rich’s computer was tied to the Democratic Party leak and that he was killed in retaliation over the leak. That story was retracted, although network contributors and at least one host, Sean Hannity, continued to promote the story after.

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The conspiracy theory was disproved in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s report.

The Washington Times reported in 2018 that Aaron Rich helped steal the emails in exchange for money from WikiLeaks. The outlet retracted the story and has settled with Aaron Rich. 

Police have said that Seth Rich’s death in 2016 was the result of a botched robbery.