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Judge asks Twitter for information on Devin Nunes parody accounts
A Virginia judge has asked Twitter for personal information about the people behind two anonymous parody accounts that target Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) as the court weighs whether to dismiss Nunes's suit against the social networking company.
Judge John Marshall has asked for the names and addresses of the accounts' authors in addition to the total number of Twitter accounts in Virginia and information on the company's gross revenue, the Sacramento Bee reported Thursday.
Twitter has asked for the suit to be dismissed, contending that it does not belong in the commonwealth.
Nunes has alleged in court that Twitter allowed the two accounts, called Devin Nunes' Cow and Devin Nunes' Mom, to defame him. He claims the same about GOP strategist Liz Mair's Twitter account.
The judge reportedly noted the information, requested by Nunes's team, would be under seal.
"The court is cognizant of the sensitive nature of the materials requested by the plaintiff from defendant Twitter in his discovery requests," he wrote. "The court also understands the position of counsel for Twitter that discovery should not occur until the court has decided whether venue is appropriate for this court."
"Defending and respecting the user's voice is one of our core values at Twitter. This value is a two-part commitment to freedom of expression and privacy," a Twitter spokesperson told The Hill in a statement Friday.
The people behind the anonymous accounts told McClatchy they have never lived in Virginia.
Nunes, who serves as the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, filed the suit in March. Legal experts told The Hill at the time that Nunes faced an uphill battle.
In recent months, Twitter has taken heat from conservatives who have accused the website of censoring their voices. Twitter has denied this.