Occupy Wall Street protester whose tweets were subpoenaed to plead guilty

Wed Dec 5, 2012 9:33pm EST
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By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Occupy Wall Street protester who has waged a legal battle to keep his tweets from falling into prosecutors' hands will plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct on Friday, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The case against Malcolm Harris, 23, one of hundreds arrested during a mass march across the Brooklyn Bridge in October 2011, had drawn the attention of electronic privacy advocates who worry that it could limit the rights of Twitter users in the future.

Harris' attorney, Martin Stolar, said he has conferred with Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino and expects that Harris will be sentenced to time served when he pleads guilty.

The maximum penalty is 15 days in jail, though first-time offenders are rarely imprisoned.

The judge could not be reached for comment after regular business hours. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office said prosecutors have not agreed to any plea deal.

Stolar said he did not need prosecutors' approval because Harris is willing to plead guilty to the offense with which he is charged.

The Brooklyn Bridge protest occurred at the height of the Occupy movement, which drew thousands of activists in New York and across the country angry at what they called an unfair economic system.

Prosecutors filed a subpoena on Twitter seeking months of Harris' tweets before and after the march, claiming they could undermine his defense that police appeared to lead protesters onto the bridge's roadway before arresting them for obstructing traffic. The tweets are no longer available online.   Continued...