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Texas withdraws subpoena for tweets on new abortion law

By Marice Richter

DALLAS (Reuters) - The Texas Department of Public Safety said on Thursday it had withdrawn a subpoena for information from Twitter regarding two tweets about conservative Texas lawmakers, including Governor Rick Perry, and the passage of restrictive abortion regulations.

The department had sought information, documents and records related to the Twitter accounts of Denise Romano of Austin and Michael Mayer of New York in an investigation into their tweets between July 17 and 19, the day before and after Perry signed the abortion bill into law.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger confirmed in an email that the subpoena had been withdrawn and said the department "will continue to investigate potential threats against public officials."

The tweets were directed at Perry and other Texas lawmakers in response to the ban on abortions in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy and to new regulations on abortion providers.

One of the tweets on July 18 posted by Romano said, "Should we execute Perry by lethal injection or stoning for all he's killed." That post was retweeted by Mayer.

Both Mayer and Romano received support from their followers on Twitter, who expressed dismay that social media comments could be construed as a threat.

"We are pleased," said Romano's attorney Michelle Kostun, who added that the matter concerning her client is closed.

"We commend Twitter on its commitment to protecting user information and content," she added.

Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said the social media outlet would not "confirm or comment" on the subpoena.

(Editing by Brendan O'Brien and Jackie Frank)

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