Saturday, March 5, 2022

Judge Rejects Trump's Lawyer Effort To Slow Down Jan. 6 Committee

A Federal Judge has Rejected an attempt by Attorney John Eastman, the Architect of Trump’s Legal Strategy to Overturn the 2020 Election, to slow down the Jan. 6 Select Committee’s push to obtain Documents they say could show the Trump Criminally conspired with Eastman to Subvert the Democratic Process.

In a late Friday Order, Judge David Carter, said Eastman's demand to Postpone a March 8 Hearing and force the Select Committee to provide him "exculpatory" Evidence was Unwarranted and Legally misguided.

Eastman is fighting a bid by the Select Committee to access Trump-related Emails he claims are Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege. On Wednesday, the Panel urged Carter to Reject Eastman's attempt to Shield the Records, issuing a remarkable Claim that the Records are likely to show Evidence of Multiple Crimes committed by both Eastman and Trump, triggering what's known as the "Crime-Fraud Exception" to Attorney-Client Privilege.

On Friday, Eastman said the Committee's allegations were so Severe that he was entitled to "exculpatory" Evidence typically reserved for Criminal Defendants under Supreme Court Precedents known as Maryland v. Brady and Giglio v. United States.

Eastman said Granting the Committee access to his Emails would amount to a Historic Legal finding that Trump, when he was the sitting President, likely committed a Crime. And this, he said, in effect turned him into a "pseudo-defense attorney for the former president." “Were this Court to sustain the defendants’ claims, it may be the first formal finding of Presidential criminality by a federal court in United States history,” Eastman wrote.

But Carter, who sits in the U.S. District Court of Central California, summarily Rejected Eastman's Argument, noting that the Committee had informed Eastman weeks ago that it may invoke the "Crime-Fraud Exception" so he should've been prepared to Rebut them. And fights over Attorney-Client Privilege in a Civil Lawsuit, even when they involve Allegations of Crime, do Not warrant Protections reserved for Criminal Defendants, he said, because there's No Risk of Jail time.

"Dr. Eastman’s liberty is not at issue—only his emails," Carter ruled. "The legislature raises allegations of crime in the limited context of privilege; but it is the executive branch that is solely responsible for deciding whether to prosecute. For Dr. Eastman to risk incarceration, there would have to be entirely separate criminal proceedings, where the Government would face a substantially higher burden of proof and Dr. Eastman would receive the full protections of criminal law."

The Ruling tees up Tuesday's Hearing as a crucial moment in the Select Committee's Investigation. The Panel has spent Two months seeking to obtain Thousands of Eastman's emails from, Chapman University, where Eastman sent the emails from, which was willing to provide them in January. But Eastman Sued to block the Committee's Subpoena. Carter has since issued a string of Legal Defeats for Eastman, ordering him to Review and Disclose them, but permitting Eastman to assert Attorney-Client Privilege in some cases.

But the Select Committee said Eastman had made sweeping Assertions over more than 10,000 pages, many of which appeared relevant to its Probe. The Committee, in an explosive Court filing on Wednesday, said it has amassed Evidence showing that Eastman’s work for Trump amounted to a potential Criminal Conspiracy to Obstruct Congress and Defraud the American People.

The results of the Legal clash are of Monumental Significance to the Select Committee’s investigation. The Panel is seeking to wind down its probe of the effort by Trump to Overturn the Election, within the next few weeks and begin Revealing its Findings. Committee Members say Eastman was Instrumental in Trump’s effort and view his Communications as an essential part of their Case.

In a Response Brief filed Friday evening, the Jan. 6 Select Committee had Rejected Eastman's call for a Delay as a last-ditch bid to Thwart the Committee's Investigation.

"These procedures exist to safeguard the substantial liberty interests at stake in criminal proceedings," House General Counsel Douglas Letter wrote. "But nothing here places Plaintiff’s (or anyone else’s) liberty in jeopardy. If this Court ultimately finds that the crime-fraud exception applies, Plaintiff will not be incarcerated, nor will he suffer civil sanctions."

The Letter noted, that Carter's Decision about whether to Reject Eastman's Attorney-Client Privilege claim is based on a "preponderance of the evidence" not Proof beyond a Reasonable Doubt, which is the Higher Standard required to prove Guilt in Criminal Cases. The Committee is asking Carter to Approve a Document-by-Document Review of Eastman's Records to determine whether they may reasonably constitute Evidence of a potential Crime. "The extent of potential wrongdoing and of Plaintiff’s personal involvement are the very things the Select Committee is seeking to better understand through its request for documents in this case,". The Letter also argued that Courts are Prohibited from forcing Congress to turn over Records collected as part of Lawmakers' Legislative duties, saying the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause, "provides absolute immunity" from Demands by any other Branch of Government.

Among the evidence Eastman said could be Exculpatory: Evidence of Dissent within Federal Agencies assessing the Security of the 2020 Election; and Evidence of Dissent within the Justice Department about its Conclusion the Election was Secure. Eastman wanted any Evidence of Justice Department Investigations into Election-related Problems and any Details from State Officials describing concerns about the Election. Eastman also wants to include Statements from Trump that would show he had “a genuine belief in election irregularities.”

“Luckily, the January 6 committee is well staffed to conduct an expeditious … review of evidence in its possession,” Eastman writes. “The committee’s senior staff is largely composed of experienced former federal prosecutors. These capable lawyers are well trained in identifying exculpatory evidence and could easily conduct such a review in this case.”

Eastman is asking Carter to Delay a Scheduled March 8 Hearing at which the Judge is expected to Rule on whether to consider the Select Committee’s argument to obtain the Emails Eastman is trying to Shield. “[T]he recent allegations by the defendants absolutely call for careful rather than rushed consideration,” Eastman’s Attorney argued.

The Select Committee laid out its most Detailed Case yet this week that it believes Trump, along with Eastman, broke Federal Laws as they pushed Dtates, Congress, and then-Vice President Mike Pence, to Overturn the Election. They say Trump, who had been repeatedly told by Staff that he had been Defeated, nevertheless enlisted Eastman and others to attempt to Overturn the Election, even if it required Violating Federal Laws like the Electoral Count Act. They say the Evidence would support a Case against Trump for Felony Obstruction of an Official Proceeding, Congress’ Jan. 6 Session.

To support its push, the Committee released portions of a Series of Deposition Transcripts with close Aides to Trump and Pence. But Eastman said he wanted to see more of those Transcripts, and others, that would help Bolster his Defense.

“In support of their crime/fraud claim, the defendants have submitted highly incomplete transcripts which seemingly omit relevant information,” he writes.

Carter said Eastman "may present any evidence in his possession to defend his privilege claims," including in a 20-page Reply Brief, he is due to file next week, ahead of the Hearing.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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