Eight emails that ‘coup memo lawyer’ John Eastman wanted to keep out of the January 6th investigation are not eligible for attorney-client privilege protections, according to a federal judge.
Eastman, who earned the attention of the January 6th Committee by penning a memo listing methods that Donald Trump could potentially use to alter the outcome of the 2020 election in his favor (after it was over and settled), attempted to keep a number of documents private, citing attorney-client privilege to protect them from the investigation.
Now, US District Judge David Carter says that several of these documents must be turned over, citing the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege, because, he says eight of these documents directly relate to criminal activity. Including these 8 emails, there are 33 documents that must be turned over under Wednesday’s order.
At least 4 of these, the judge determined, provide evidence of a goal, not to get to the truth, but to interfere with or delay the January 6th certification of the electoral vote.
“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 court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States,” Carter wrote.
According to CNBC, the other 4 emails included in the crime-fraud exception show “an effort by President Trump and his attorneys to press false claims in federal court.” And Eastman was seen as a key person behind Trump’s legal strategy.
Judge Carter has made it clear previously that he’s not supportive of the activities that have been characterized as an attempted (failed) coup or insurrection. Back in March, the Washington Post reported that the same judge had ruled Trump had most likely broken laws in his efforts to stay in office, in what he called “a coup in search of a legal theory.”
This decision hinged largely on Trump’s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he asked the elections official to “find” 11,780 votes, in order to change his loss in that state to a win. Unfortunately for Trump, the call was recorded, and Raffensperger has proven honest enough to testify about it to the January 6th Committee, and presumably (although these investigations have been far less public) also to the Department of Justice and the special grand jury empaneled by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.