Spanish court jails British man involved in Twitter hack pending U.S. extradition hearing

The Twitter app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration picture.

A 22-year old Briton who was detained this week in Spain in connection with a Twitter hack last year that compromised the accounts of several U.S. politicians including then presidential candidate Joe Biden has been jailed pending an extradition hearing, a court source said.

Joseph James O’Connor appeared before Spain’s High Court via videolink from the southern town of Estepona where he was detained on Wednesday. O’Connor, who faces several charges in the United States, expressed his refusal to be extradited, the source said.

O’Connor’s lawyer confirmed his client opposed extradition but did not comment on the charges. The hearing was held behind closed doors, so no more details were immediately available.

The July 2020 Twitter attack hijacked a variety of verified accounts, including then-Democratic candidate 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 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.

The High Court judge jailed O’Connor as a precautionary measure after taking into account the flight risk and the seriousness of the case laid out by the U.S. Justice Department. The court is expected to set an extradition hearing in the next few months.

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