The January 6 Committee and John Eastman continue to fight over how many of his emails he can withhold from the Committee under a claim of attorney-client (and related) privilege.
Judge David Carter just ruled on what may be the last 500-so emails.
He ordered Eastman to turn over eight additional emails under a crime-fraud exception.
The more interesting set of four involve discussions about whether Trump should fix numbers he knew to be false before he filed a Federal lawsuit in Georgia.
Four emails 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.
On December 4, 2020, President Trump and his attorneys alleged in a Georgia state court action that Fulton County improperly counted a number of votes including 10,315 deceased people, 2,560 felons, and 2,423 unregistered voters.69 President Trump and his attorneys then decided to contest the state court proceeding in federal court, 70 and discussed incorporating by reference the voter fraud numbers alleged in the state petition. On December 30, 2020, Dr. Eastman relayed “concerns” from President Trump’s team “about including specific numbers in the paragraph dealing with felons, deceased, moved, etc.”71 The attorneys continued to discuss the President’s resistance to signing “when specific numbers were included.”72 As Dr. Eastman explained the next day:
Although the President signed a verification for [the state court filing] back on Dec. 1, he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate. For him to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.73
President Trump and his attorneys ultimately filed the complaint with the same inaccurate numbers without rectifying, clarifying, or otherwise changing them. 74 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.75
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. Accordingly, the Court ORDERS Dr. Eastman to disclose these four communications to the Select Committee.76
69 As discussed in the previous orders, President Trump’s own U.S. Attorney General said that his investigators found no evidence of fraud on a scale that would have changed the outcome of the election, but President Trump and his attorneys continued to file dozens of lawsuits in states he lost, seeking to overturn the results. First Order at 5. By early January, more than sixty court cases alleging fraud had been dismissed for lack of evidence or lack of standing. Id. at 6. See also J. M. Luttig et al., Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election (July 2022) (examining every count of every case of election irregularities brought by President Trump’s team in six battleground states and concluding that “Donald Trump and his supporters had their day in court and failed to produce substantive evidence to make their case”), https://perma.cc/MKC4-BV3Q.
70 See Trump v. Kemp, 511 F. Supp. 3d 1325, 1330 (N.D. Ga. 2021) (“Plaintiff’s motion for expedited declaratory and injunctive relief asks this Court to take the unprecedented action of decertifying the results of the presidential election in Georgia and directing the Georgia General Assembly to appoint presidential electors.”)
74 See generally Model Rules of Pro. Conduct r. 3.3 cmt. 5 (Am. Bar Ass’n 1983) (noting that the duty requiring “that the lawyer refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false, regardless of the client’s wishes” is “premised on the lawyer’s obligation as an officer of the court to prevent the trier of fact from being misled by false evidence”), https://perma.cc/3PB5-CGRM; see also Christensen, 828 F.3d at 805 (“[C]onduct by an attorney that is merely unethical, as opposed to illegal, may be enough to vitiate the work product doctrine.”).
75 In an attempt to disclaim his responsibility over the misleading allegations, President Trump’s attorneys remove the numbers from the body of complaint (but nonetheless incorporate them by reference) and add a footnote that states President Trump is only relying on information that was provided to him. See 61108. But, by his attorneys’ own admissions, the information provided to him was that the alleged voter fraud numbers were inaccurate. See 60742.
76 59643; 59390; 60742; 61108. For document 59643, only the first page (Chapman059643) requires disclosure. For document 60742, Dr. Eastman may redact emails sent before Thursday, December 31, 2020 12:00 PM MST. For document 61108, Dr. Eastman may redact emails sent before Thursday, December 31, 2020 7:43 AM.
These emails are going to have all sorts of ramifications — in Fani Willis’ investigation and the DOJ investigation. And they’ll likely make it easier for both Willis and Thomas Windom (who is leading the Trump fraud investigation) to obtain related emails that were seized from Mar-a-Lago.