Trump resigns social media board before federal subpoenas

In this image taken February 21, 2022, the Pravda social media logo is visible on a smartphone in front of former US President Donald Trump’s display.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump stepped down from his social network’s board of directors just weeks before the Securities and Exchange Commission and a federal grand jury in Manhattan issued a subpoena, according to documents.

Trump, who served as chairman of the Trump Media and Technology Group, was one of six board members fired, according to a June 8 filing with the Florida State Department’s Division of Corporations. His son Donald Trump Jr. also left the board along with Wes Moss, Kashyap Patel, Andrew Northwall and Scott Gleib. This was reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

On June 27, the SEC served the company with a subpoena. Three days later, a federal grand jury in Manhattan sent a subpoena to the firm. Grand jury subpoenas usually indicate that a criminal investigation is ongoing.

The company said last week that none of the subpoenas were sent to Trump. Representatives for Trump and company did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The subpoenas appear to be related to the alleged merger between Trump Media and Technology and Digital World Acquisition Corporation. DVAK disclosed connection with the criminal investigation last Friday. The week before, the DWAC had stated that government investigations could delay or even prevent its merger with Trump’s newly formed company, which includes Truth Social, a social media app designed to be an alternative to Twitter.

The Justice Department and the SEC, which regulate the stock market, are investigating a deal between DWAC and Trump Media. By merging with DWAC, which is a kind of shell company called a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, Trump’s firm will have access to potential billions of dollars in public stock markets.

Early criticism of the deal came from the senator. Elizabeth Warren in November She wrote SEC Chairman Gary Genslerinforming him that DWAC “may have committed securities infringement by having private and undisclosed merger discussions as early as May 2021, while omitting this information in [SEC] filing and other public statements.

DWAC shares fell less than a percentage point on Thursday, but are down more than 50% this year.

— Mike Calia of CNBC contributed to this report.