Briton held over 2020 Twitter hack to appear in court in Spain, source says


FILE PHOTO: The Twitter app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

MADRID (Reuters) - A 22-year-old Briton arrested in Spain in connection with a Twitter hack which compromised the accounts of several U.S. politicians in 2020 is due to appear by video call in the Spanish high court on Thursday, a judicial source told Reuters.

The man, identified by the U.S. Justice Department as Joseph James O'Connor, will appear from the beach town of Estepona in southern Spain where he was held on Wednesday, the source said.

The court may order precautionary measures against O'Connor after the hearing, the source added.

O'Connor's lawyer could not be immediately reached.

The July 2020 Twitter attack hijacked a variety of verified Twitter accounts, including then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The accounts of former President Barack Obama, TV reality star Kim Kardashian, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Kayne West were also hit.

The alleged hacker used the accounts to solicit digital currency, prompting Twitter to take the extraordinary step of preventing some verified accounts from publishing messages for several hours until security to the accounts could be restored.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, Inti Landauro and Sarah N. Lynch., Editing by William Maclean)

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