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Lawyer of student who tracks Taylor Swift's private jet says his client is 'not going to buckle'

The lawyer of a college student who runs social media accounts to track Taylor Swift's and other celebrities' private jets spoke out to defend his client.

In an interview with "Good Morning America" that aired on Wednesday, James Slater of Slater Legal PLLC who represents Jack Sweeney, a University of Central Florida student, said his client is "not going to buckle" to the cease-and-desist letter he received from the singer's lawyers last December.

MORE: Jet-tracking account gave Taylor Swift's stalkers a 'roadmap to carry out their plans,' lawyer says in cease-and-desist letter

"This is just another string in an effort by a rich and powerful person to try to silence public criticism and free speech," Slater added.

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In the letter to Sweeney, Swift's lawyer, Katie Morrone, wrote, "You essentially provide individuals intent on physically harming her, or with nefarious or violent intentions, a roadmap to carry out their plans" by sharing "'live' updates on her destination and the exact time" the singer will arrive at a given location.

Morrone also argued that the tracking accounts which have since been taken down by Meta, which is the parent company of Instagram and Threads, amounted to "stalking and harassing behavior" that "poses an imminent threat to the safety and wellbeing of our Client," adding that the accounts enable stalkers and increase the risk Swift faces every day.

Speaking to "GMA," Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington offered his opinion on the legal situation, saying, he doesn't see "an underlying cause of action that Swift legal team could bring to bear against this individual."

"Is it the right thing to do? I think that's a matter of public opinion. It's a matter of morality," he continued. "But I don't see how it violates any civil or criminal law."

Calo also said historically, the FAA makes flight information available for two reasons:

"First, in order to track safety performance, as well as to have the best chance of finding a plane should it go down, in a very rare instance, when there was a failure…And the other would be for reasons of accountability," he explained.

MORE: Taylor Swift reveals 'The Tortured Poets Department' track list, collaborators

On Monday, Sweeney shared the letter his lawyer wrote in response to the legal threat by Swift's team on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Alongside the letter, Sweeney began the post by referencing Swift's hit song "Look What You Made Me Do" from the singer's 2017 album, "Reputation."

"Put simply, there is nothing unlawful about [Sweeney's] use of publicly accessible information to track private jets, including those used by public figures like Taylor Swift," Slater wrote in part.

"The @taylorswiftjets account is engaged in protected speech that does not violate any of Ms. Swift's legal rights," he added. "Your letter makes that clear by failing to identify any legal claim."

Slater explained that Morrone flirted "with asserting a stalking claim under a California law" in the cease-and-desist letter with words that define a stalker as someone who makes a "credible threat" against the victim.

"Our clients have never made any threats against Ms. Swift and your letter does not suggest they have done so," Slater reaffirmed. "Our clients' website only provide the locations of private jets using publicly available information. That information poses no threat to Ms. Swift's safety."

Discussing the intent of the letter he wrote in response to Swift's legal threat to his client, Slater told "GMA," "We wanted to really hit home that there is no legal claim here that this is just public information, that anyone has the right and ability to access, and that he's not using it in a nefarious way."

"This is him tracking jets. And there's a purpose," he continued. "These jets are emitting an insane amount of carbon emissions."

Sweeney has since switched to posting Swift's information on a 24-hour delay and no longer does it in real-time.

ABC News has reached out to Swift's team for comment on the response they received from Sweeney's lawyer.

However, earlier this month, a spokesperson for Swift told ABC News in a statement regarding the case, writing, "We cannot comment on any ongoing police investigation but can confirm the timing of stalkers suggests a connection. His posts tell you exactly when and where she would be."

This isn't the first time Sweeney has gotten into hot water for tracking flights. In 2022, his then-Twitter account "@Elonjet" was suspended for keeping tabs on Tesla CEO and X owner Elon Musk's plane in real-time.

Lawyer of student who tracks Taylor Swift's private jet says his client is 'not going to buckle' originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com