Brooklyn-based writer Malcolm Harris has been sentenced to community service after his tweets showed that he had made untruthful statements in his defense. Charged with disorderly conduct during an Occupy protest, Harris' defense revolved around whether or not he knew the police had warned protestors to stay off the road. His lawyer wrote that the police had announced "through a barely audible bullhorn" that marching on the roadway was forbidden. The case has drawn attention because of its use of tweets as evidence. Harris' tweets were no longer public, and Twitter fought a subpoena ordering it to turn over the data. Twitter eventually caved in, and the evidence was damning, leading Harris to plead guilty.
"They tried to stop us, absolutely did not want us on the motorway," Harris tweeted on October 1st 2011, "we were too many and too loud. They backed up until they could put up barricades." The New York Times reports that these tweets and others were described in court yesterday before Harris was ordered to undertake community service. The maximum sentence for disorderly conduct was 15 days. He told reporters outside the court that his focus was on appealing the Twitter subpoena: "setting the legal precedent for how this material is going to be used is much more important than six days of community service."
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