During an hour-long hearing, attorneys for DreamHost, the company that hosts the website Disruptj20.org, argued the federal search warrant was still too broad and would include information of innocent individuals who visited the site but were not part of violent Inauguration Day rioting.
The original request would have compelled Dreamhost to disclose 1.3 million IP addresses, which could reveal information about visitors to the protest-organizing site, the web hosting company says.
Specifically, prosecutors say they have "no interest in records relating to the 1.3 million IP addresses that are mentioned in DreamHost's numerous press releases".
A judge in Washington, DC, ruled on Thursday that federal prosecutors could go ahead with a search warrant for records about an Inauguration Day protest website, but that they will have to do so under the judge's supervision.
In Tuesday's new court filing, prosecutors balk at this assertion: "The government values and respects the First Amendment right of all Americans to participate in peaceful political protests and to read protected political expression online". While the DOJ has backed off its initial, controversial request for IP addresses, the government still wants other personal information included in the metadata from DreamHost - a request Morin granted.
DreamHost attorney Raymond Aghaian said the site was not an anti-Trump website, but instead an "advocacy site that addresses political issues".
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Dreamhost took the Department of Justice to court to challenge the scope of that request. That includes data stored on Dreamhost for the DisruptJ20 website from October 1, 2016, through January 20, including any communications related to the planning and carrying out of crimes committed during the inauguration and identifying information for those involved. Morin said DreamHost would have to produce records to the government, but the government could not look at any of the information until after DreamHost made a decision about appealing.
The government would be able to review the data to determine what information was responsive to their search warrant and relevant to the criminal cases at hand.
Morin, who will oversee review of the data, said the government must explain what protocols it will use to make sure prosecutors do not seize the data of "innocent users". Levy argued on behalf of the unnamed users who he said should be alerted that their information may be turned over to the government.
The two parties are set to meet in court on Thursday, having already delayed a hearing originally scheduled for last week.
But even with that exclusion and other limitations that the government agreed to - putting a date range on the information sought and excluding draft materials that were never published - DreamHost said the search warrant continued to present constitutional problems.
"I'm going to be supervising their search", Morin told the lawyers.