We represented an anonymous internet blogger whose colorful language about politicians (e.g., “He’s a slimy political animal. Let’s put him down.”) apparently caught the attention of a Capitol Police internet search bot, resulting in a grand jury subpoena to the blogger’s internet host (WordPress) seeking his identity. We filed a motion to intervene and to quash the subpoena, arguing that the First Amendment protects anonymous political speech and that the blog, read as a whole, made clear that the author was making political commentary, not threats. A few weeks after we filed, the government informed the court that the subpoena had been withdrawn, and our motion was dismissed as moot. We then filed a motion to unseal the court filings—all papers dealing with grand jury proceedings are automatically under seal—which was granted, and the papers were placed on the public docket (No. 11-mc-362 (D.D.C.)).

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Date filed

June 23, 2011