SANTA ANA, Calif. – An attorney for the congressional committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection asked a federal judge in Santa Ana Monday to privately review 562 documents former Chapman University law professor John Eastman continues to argue cannot be turned over to the committee.
Attorney Douglas Letter argued in a brief filed Monday that past assertions of privilege claimed by Eastman have turned out to be without merit, so U.S. District Judge David O. Carter should review them in private and rule whether the committee can obtain them.
“Other documents produced to the select committee on the eve of this court’s review, after months of meritless privilege assertions, further underscore the unreliable nature of Dr. Eastman’s privilege descriptions,” Letter wrote.
Letter cited one document which “consist of email exchanges regarding travel plans and stays at Trump International hotels,” Letter wrote.
One note read, “A shame you are not in DC and could contribute to violation of the emoluments clause,” Letter said.
Another document President Donald Trump’s former attorney cited for privilege “turned out to be a photograph of a Trump campaign rally with a handwritten note stating: `TIMES 50 SUCH EVENTS – NO WAY THIS LOSES,’ ” according to Letter.
Eastman characterized it as a “handwritten note re issues for anticipated litigation,” according to Letter.
The committee wants Carter to do an “in camera” private review of the 562 documents to determine the privilege assertions from Eastman, whether he waived any privilege and whether the committee can overcome any legitimate claims of privilege through an exception allowed when there is evidence of criminal fraud.
The committee does “not believe the remaining documents raise any factual or legal issues requiring additional briefing,” Letter wrote.
Eastman, in his most recent claims of privilege, “continues to offer conclusory descriptions insufficient to allow (the committee) to accurately assess the validity of his privilege assertions,” Letter wrote.
In June, Carter ruled that there was evidence of plotting to halt the certification of President Joe Biden’s election that started “as early as Dec. 7, 2020.”
The alleged plan was to have an alternate set of electors established in various states where the election was close, creating a dispute that Pence could decide and swing the election to Trump.
Carter ordered some documents released under a legal theory that the normally privileged documents were possibly part of a criminal conspiracy, which overtakes the right to keep them private.