Judge says Trump signed statement with data his lawyers told him was false

Former President Donald J. Trump signed a document swearing under oath that information in a Georgia lawsuit he filed challenging the 2020 election results was true even though his own lawyers told him it was. was wrong, a federal judge wrote Wednesday.

The charge came in a ruling by Judge David O. Carter ordering John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who strategized with the former president to overturn the election, to turn over 33 more emails to the committee of the Chamber charged with investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Judge Carter, who sits in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, determined that the emails contained possible evidence of criminal behavior.

“The emails show that President Trump knew the specific voter fraud numbers were wrong, but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public,” Justice Carter wrote. He added in a footnote that the suit contained language saying that Mr. Trump was relying on information provided to him by others.

The committee has fought for months to gain access to hundreds of Mr Eastman’s emails, seeing him as the intellectual architect of plans to overturn the 2020 election, including Mr Trump’s efforts to lobby on Vice President Mike Pence to block or delay Congressional certification of the Electoral College results on January 6, 2021. The panel has repeatedly argued that a “criminal fraud exception” pierces the typical solicitor-client privilege that often protects communications between lawyers and clients.

The emails in question, which were dated between November 3, 2020 and January 20, 2021, were from Mr. Eastman’s account at Chapman University, where he once served as dean of the law school.

Justice Carter wrote Wednesday that the criminal fraud exception applied to a number of emails related to “Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman’s efforts to delay or disrupt the Jan. 6 vote” and “their knowing misrepresentation.” voter fraud numbers in Georgia. seeking to overturn the election results in federal court.

Judge Carter found four emails that “demonstrate an effort by President Trump and his attorneys to assert false allegations in federal court in an attempt to delay the Jan. 6 vote.”

In one, Mr. Trump’s lawyers informed him that simply having an election challenge pending in the Supreme Court could be enough to delay the Electoral College’s final vote count by Georgia.

“This email,” Justice Carter wrote, “read in the context of other documents in this review, makes it clear that President Trump brought certain lawsuits not to obtain legal relief, but to disrupt or delay the proceedings of the Congress of January 6 in the courts.

Another email related to the lawsuit that Mr. Trump and his lawyers filed in Fulton County, Georgia, in December 2020, claiming that thousands of votes were miscounted and citing a specific number of deaths, criminals and unregistered voters who had voted. .

In an email ordered to be released, Mr. Eastman made it clear that Mr. Trump should not sign a document making specific allegations about voter fraud in the county because his legal team had learned they were inaccurate.

“Although the president signed a verification for [the state court filing] returned on December 1, he has since been advised that some of the allegations (and evidence presented by the experts) were inaccurate,” Mr. Eastman wrote. “For him to sign a new verification with this knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.”

But Mr. Trump signed a new verification, on December 31, 2020, after the lawsuit was sent to federal court. The lawsuit included a caveat that the voter fraud figures it used should be relied upon “only to the extent” that “such information was provided” to Mr. Trump’s legal team; the lawsuit also stated that this data was subject to “modification” or “adjustment”.

The episode was the latest example of how Mr. Trump has repeatedly been told his allegations of widespread voter fraud are false and are often advanced anyway. His then-Attorney General, William P. Barr, advised him at least three times that his fraud charges were unfounded, as did other senior Justice Department officials, the Office of Legal Counsel of the White House and the Trump campaign.

Justice Carter’s decision came in the context of a federal lawsuit Mr. Eastman filed earlier this year, seeking to bar the committee from obtaining his emails as part of its investigation into Mr. Trump to cancel the election.

In a previous ruling, handed down in March, Justice Carter offered an in-depth analysis of how Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman most likely committed crimes, including obstructing the work of Congress on January 6 and conspiring to defraud the United States.

Mr. Eastman was also at the center of the Justice Department’s investigation into January 6 and the months leading up to it.

In June, federal agents seized Mr. Eastman’s phone as part of what appears to be an extensive grand jury investigation into Mr. Trump’s role in cross-border plans to stay in power, including a plan to creating fake pro-Trump voter lists in states that were won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. A flurry of subpoenas issued by the grand jury, sitting in Washington, named Mr. Eastman and several other attorneys close to Mr. Trump as subjects of interest.