Judge says more of attorney John Eastman’s emails about Trump election challenge must be given to Jan. 6 probe

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  • A federal judge ordered pro-Trump Attorney John Eastman to submit several documents to the House Select Committee probing the January 6 Capitol riots.
  • Those documents reportedly include emails showing attempts by Eastman and former President Donald Trump to disrupt Congress’s attempt to confirm Trump’s 2020 election loss.
  • According to a US District Court order in Santa Ana, California, eight of Eastman’s emails were subject to a “crime-fraud exception” for attorney-client privilege.

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A federal judge on Wednesday ordered pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman to submit a number of documents to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots allegedly confirming Congress’s 2020 election loss to former President Donald Trump. Emails showing attempts to intercept are also included.

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Judge David Carter wrote that the 33 documents that must be handed over are either not protected by legal privileges or are exempt from those privileges because they relate to an attempted crime.

According to a US District Court order in Santa Ana, California, eight of Eastman’s emails were subject to that “crime-fraud exception.”

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In four of them, Eastman – a key figure leading the legal efforts to reverse President Joe Biden’s victory – and Trump’s lawyers suggest the “primary target” of the court filing is “delaying” January 6, 2021. or otherwise obstruct”. Congress votes to confirm Biden’s electoral victory, judge ruled.

A further four emails “demonstrate an attempt by President Trump and his lawyers to suppress false claims in federal court for the purpose of delaying the January 6 vote,” Carter wrote.

The judge said Eastman had flagged Trump’s lawyers that his alleged evidence of voter fraud in Fulton County, Georgia, was false. But Trump and his legal team nonetheless filed a complaint in federal court “without rectifying, clarifying, or otherwise replacing them with the same incorrect number,” Carter wrote.

“The email shows that President Trump knew that specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong, but continued to tout those numbers both in court and in the public,” Carter wrote. “The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related and advance a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Eastman’s lawyers did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Carter’s order. A spokesman for the January 6 committee did not immediately comment.

Eastman, former law school dean of Chapman University, wrote a memorandum outlining a questionable legal strategy for Vice President Mike Pence to reject the Electoral College votes for Biden while presiding over a joint session of Congress on January 6.

Pence resisted pressure from Trump to undo the election results, sparking the anger of the then-president and thousands of his supporters, some of whom chanted “hang up Mike Pence” as he swung the US Capitol.

In Wednesday’s ruling, Carter ordered the disclosure of part of a handful of emails related to Eastman’s plan for Pence to challenge the 2020 election count.

In January the selection committee issued a subpoena demanding messages sent from Eastman’s Chapman email account between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

Eastman, who had previously declined to submit documents to investigators on January 6, immediately asked the Santa Ana federal court to restrain Chapman from complying with the committee’s subpoena for his emails.

Carter ruled in March that Eastman disclosed 101 emails to the selection committee that were the subject of disputes over legal privileges. In that decision, the judge wrote that January 6 was more likely than “President Trump made a corrupt attempt to disrupt a joint session of Congress”.

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