A former Twitter Inc. employee, Amad Abouammo, who was convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia by turning over personal information of Twitter users, has demanded a new trial.
Abouammo wants a new trial because prosecutors didn’t tell him about a whistle-blower’s report on security lapses at the company.
Abouammo’s lawyer argued that Twitter threw him “under the bus” to deflect from the company’s careless handling of Its users’ data
Whistle-blower Peiter Zatko, a former Twitter security chief, submitted the explosive report in July to multiple government agencies, including the Justice Department.
The report, which added to Elon Musk’s arms in his effort to back out of a $44 billion Twitter acquisition deal, didn’t become public until after Abouammo’s trial ended in August.
Abouammo alleges that prosecutors committed misconduct by withholding the report.
In his testimony to the Senate, Zatko cited outdated software, broad employee access to personal user data, and a reactive security policy as features of Twitter’s “ticking bomb of security vulnerabilities.”
Twitter fired Zatko in January for poor performance and for giving “a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context.”
The company has disclosed it reached a $7.75 million separation agreement with Zatko on June 28.
Abouammo, a US resident born in Egypt, was found guilty of charges including acting as an agent for Saudi Arabia, money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsifying records, following a two-week trial.
Abouammo faces 10 to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.