Abouammo was arrested in Seattle in November 2019. He and another Twitter employee at the time were accused of having been contacted by Saudi Arabian officials in 2014 to only pass on internally accessible user data such as email addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth behind anonymous user accounts.
The data could have enabled Riyadh to identify hitherto anonymous government critics in the short message service. Abouammo, who left Twitter in 2015 to join e-commerce giant Amazon, received $100,000 in cash and a $40,000 watch.
Prosecutor Colin Sampson said in his closing argument that the accused had "sold his position to an insider" close to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Abouammo's lawyer Angela Chuang, on the other hand, said her client only accepted gifts from generous Saudis after he left his job as an account manager at Twitter. He accepted the $100,000 and the expensive watch; In the Saudi Arabian culture, that's just "change".
The international handling of the arch-conservative Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is controversial because of the human rights situation there. According to US intelligence, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally approved the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
In July, both US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron met the heir to the throne. The talks included Saudi Arabia as a possible oil supplier to mitigate the energy crisis resulting from the Russian attack on Ukraine.