Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Restaurant Owner in Hot Water for Tweeting About Sting Operation, Found Not Guilty

The city argued that the tweet intentionally impeded the sting operation

Africa Studio / Shutterstock

The restaurant owner could have faced up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine had he been found guilty.

John Horvatinovich, owner of restaurant Salt 88 in Omaha, Nebraska, found himself in hot water after he tweeted a picture that landed him in front of six jurors, who ultimately found him not guilty of ruining a sting operation.

Horvatinovich was charged with the misdemeanor of obstructing a government operation when he tweeted a picture last summer of two undercover teens attempting to order alcohol. He was trying to warn other Omaha restaurant-owners of alcohol compliance checks, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

“Omaha restaurant peeps: These two are trying to ruin your night w/sting operations in town,” the now-deleted tweet read.

Although the restaurant did not serve the teens, Horvatinovich told KETV NewsWatch 7 that he was not sure how the case would play out and was “a little surprised” at the verdict.


"My argument is still that we have freedom of speech, and that he was well within his rights to send this tweet out," Carolyn Wilson, Horvatinovich's attorney, told KETV NewsWatch 7.