Federal Judge Orders Former Trump Attorney to Release Emails to Jan. 6 Committee

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
October 20, 2022Politics
Federal Judge Orders Former Trump Attorney to Release Emails to Jan. 6 Committee
Former lawyer of former President Donald Trump, John Eastman, appears on screen during the fourth hearing by the House Jan. 6 committee in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington on June 21, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

A federal judge has ordered John Eastman, a former attorney for former President Donald Trump, to turn over a number of emails to the House Jan. 6 Committee. The judge determined that some of the emails showed that Trump had signed documents he knew to be false.

Judge David O. Carter’s order on Wednesday is part of ongoing litigation between Eastman and the House Jan. 6 Committee over emails that it had subpoenaed from Eastman.

Eastman asserted that emails from an account he used while he was dean at Chapman University are covered by either attorney-client and/or work product privilege. Carter was reviewing the emails that the Jan. 6 Committee has sought from this university email account to see whether the privilege assertions apply.

Carter, a nominee of President Bill Clinton, determined that out of 536 documents protected by attorney-client or work-product privilege, eight of those documents should be disclosed under the “crime-fraud exception,” which extinguishes both attorney-client and work-product privileges. He ordered these to be turned over to the Jan. 6 Committee.

Per the court document: “The crime-fraud exception applies when (1) a ‘client consults an attorney for advice that will serve [them] in the commission of a fraud or crime,’ and (2) the communications are ‘sufficiently related to’ and were made ‘in furtherance of’ the crime.'”

Carter said the exception applies “only to documents and communications that were themselves in furtherance of illegal or fraudulent conduct.”

“The Court concludes that the crime-fraud exception applies to a number of emails related to President Trump and Dr. Eastman’s (1) court efforts to delay or disrupt the January 6 vote; and (2) their knowing misrepresentation of voter fraud numbers in Georgia when seeking to overturn the election results in federal court,” the order on Wednesday states.

Four of the eight emails were documents “in which Dr. Eastman and other attorneys suggest that—irrespective of the merits—the primary goal of filing [lawsuits] is to delay or otherwise disrupt the January 6 vote,” Carter wrote, adding, “The Court finds that these four documents are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of the obstruction crime.”

Another four emails, Carter wrote, “demonstrate an effort by President Trump and his attorneys to press false claims in federal court for the purpose of delaying the January 6 vote.”

“The evidence confirms that this effort was undertaken in at least one lawsuit filed in Georgia,” the judge added.

Specifically, Carter cited allegations from Trump’s attorneys on Dec. 4, 2020, in Georgia state court that Fulton County in Georgia had improperly counted “a number of votes including 10,315 deceased people, 2,560 felons, and 2,423 unregistered voters.”

Carter cited an email Eastman sent Dec. 31, 2020, telling Trump’s attorneys that Trump had since Dec. 1, 2020 “been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts)” in the Dec. 1, 2020, Georgia filing “has been inaccurate.”

Eastman added: “For him [Trump] to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.”

Carter noted that after the message from Eastman, Trump and his attorneys still proceeded to file another legal complaint that had “the same inaccurate numbers” and “without rectifying, clarifying, or otherwise changing them.”

“President Trump, moreover, signed a verification swearing under oath that the incorporated, inaccurate numbers ‘are true and correct’ or ‘believed to be true and correct’ to the best of his knowledge and belief,” Carter wrote.

“The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public,” the judge said in his order.

“The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States. Accordingly, the Court orders Dr. Eastman to disclose these four communications to the Select Committee.”

Representatives for Trump and Eastman did not immediately respond to requests for comment when reached by The Associated Press.

Carter in March previously ordered Eastman to turn over a separate batch of 101 emails requested by the Jan. 6 Committee. At the time, he claimed in a ruling that Trump “more likely than not committed obstruction of an official proceeding,” referring to the Jan. 6 joint session to certify the results of the 2020 election, and that Trump likely conspired with Eastman to do it. At the time, Eastman’s attorney said that Eastman “intends to comply with the court’s order,” but that Eastman had “an unblemished record as an attorney and respectfully disagrees with the judge’s findings.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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