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Home / News / Jan. 6 committee alleges possible criminal fraud by Trump, Eastman

Jan. 6 committee alleges possible criminal fraud by Trump, Eastman

by City News Service
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The House Jan. 6 select committee investigating the violent insurrection at the Capitol as Congress certified the presidential election Wednesday declared in court papers involving the legal skirmish with former Chapman University law professor John Eastman that it is investigating a case of criminal fraud.

Eastman, who is under an investigation by the state bar, is arguing that the thousands of emails he sent while on staff at the university in Orange regarding the 2020 presidential election should not be turned over to the committee because he invoked attorney-client and work product privileges that would keep that correspondence private.

The committee had earlier subpoenaed the emails, but when Eastman did not respond the committee turned to Chapman, which was going to release the emails until Eastman sued and sought a temporary restraining order.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter in January rejected Eastman’s constitutional claims and bid for a temporary restraining order, but did allow the professor to assert privilege and the judge would consider each claim.

The committee’s attorneys have argued the process is taking too long and Eastman does not have any privilege rights because he has not shown any proof he was officially engaged by then-President Donald Trump, though Eastman did file lawsuits with various contested states in which he tried to object to results showing President Joe Biden was the winner.

The committee also argues in the filing that Eastman waived privilege because he has publicly said Trump authorized him to speak about a memo Eastman authored that advised then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from several states Biden won so new electors could be chosen and the results overturned in Trump’s favor.

Trump has repeatedly claimed the election was fraudulent, but lost dozens of lawsuits and various federal officials, including former Attorney General William Barr, advised the former president that there was no widespread fraud, the commission notes.

The committee wants Carter to do an “in camera,” or private, review of some documents because it would show some type of fraud was taking place, which provide an exception to the privilege claims.

The committee said in the filing “evidence and information available to the commission establishes a good-faith believe that Mr. Trump and others may have engaged in criminal and/or fraudulent acts, and that (Eastman’s) legal assistance was used in furtherance of those activities.”

The committee also argues there is evidence that Trump committed “obstruction of an official proceeding.”

The committee argues that it has already received and reviewed emails Eastman sent to Pence’s lawyer asking him to delay the certification for 10 days so more time could be spent investigating the fraud claims.

The committee argues Eastman and Trump and others were involved in a conspiracy to defraud the United States.

“The evidence supports an inference that President Trump, (Eastman) and several others entered into an agreement to defraud the United States by interfering with the election certification process, disseminating false information about election fraud, and pressuring state officials to alter state election results and federal officials to assist in that effort,” the committee said in the motion.

A hearing on the issues is scheduled for Monday before Carter.

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