Alluded to some time ago by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the January 6 committee laid the stuff for a possible criminal case against donald trump on Wednesday evening. The roadmap came in a filing in her lawsuit with so-called “coup notice“ Author and lawyer John Ostmanwho was apparently scourged by Mike Pences “Bullshit” peddling attorney responsible for the attack on the US Capitol.
The committee, chaired by Rep. Benny Thompson (D-Miss.) outlined the three major allegations they allege could form the basis for using the felony fraud exception to overcome Eastman’s claim of privilege in his lawsuit: obstruction of an official process, conspiracy to commit fraud of the United States and usually law fraud.
“We are now under siege”
A surprise email exchange between Eastman and Pence’s attorney Gregor Jacob helps to make this case.
“[T]Thanks to your bullshit, we’re now under siege,” Jacob fired in a heated email at 12:14 p.m. Jan. 6
At the time, Trump’s rally was underway, but protesters did not get past police until 1:30 p.m. more than an hour later. The Secret Service removed Pence from the floor of the joint session just after 2:00 p.m
Eastman replied to the letter at 2:25 p.m. in disbelief.
“My ‘bullshit’ – seriously?” he wrote. “You think you can’t adjourn the meeting because the ECA isn’t saying an adjournment while the compelling evidence that the election was stolen continues to build and is already overwhelming.”
In a Jan. 6 filing with a total of 221 pages of exhibits, the House Committee to Investigate the Attack on the US Capitol released this email to convince a judge that Eastman knew his actions were illegal.
Eastman sued the committee in January over subpoenaing Eastman’s former employer, Chapman University, over emails and other documents Eastman produced related to the 2020 election. Eastman is the conservative attorney behind an attempt to persuade the then-vice president Mike Pence that he had the ability to unilaterally reject the electoral votes of the states that didn’t work for Trump in the election.
The committee’s filing on Wednesday outlined its theory that Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election may have violated federal law.
“The evidence listed above provides at least a good basis for concluding that President Trump violated Section 18 USC § 1512(c)(2),” the filing reads, referring to the obstruction statute.
In December Rep. Cheney implied She then asked, somewhat rhetorically, “Did Donald Trump, by any act or omission, attempt to obstruct or obstruct the official procedure of Congress for counting the ballot?”
“On track to public hearings”
The committee alleges that efforts by Trump, Eastman and others to perpetuate what has come to be known as the “big lie” — unsubstantiated and disproved claims that widespread voter fraud led to Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election — constitute criminal fraud.
“The evidence supports the conclusion that President Trump, the plaintiff, and several others entered into an agreement to defraud the United States by interfering with the voter certification process, disseminating false information about voter fraud, and pressuring state officials to verify the results of the vote.” State and federal election change officials to assist in this effort,” the filing said.
“The committee’s latest filing is the clearest demonstration yet of how the efforts of Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman have crossed the criminal line,” the state security attorney said Bradley Moss said Law&Crime. “They knew their actions were corrupt, they conspired to participate in them anyway, and they took open steps as part of that conspiracy.”
Moss said the filing could indicate the committee’s next steps.
“You appear to be on track for public hearings in the next six weeks with multiple criminal reprimands,” Moss said.
A series of exhibits accompanying the filing shed light on some of the behind-the-scenes efforts that were underway as the Capitol siege grew more dangerous.
“Numerous false statements”
Eastman’s attorney, Charles Burnham, claimed that attorney-client confidentiality was at stake, even though the judge overseeing Eastman’s case was a US district judge David Carterhas so far rejected this claim.
“Like all attorneys, Dr. John Eastman has a responsibility to protect client trust, even at great personal risk and cost,” Burnham said in a statement Politically. “The special committee has counted on Dr. Eastman’s efforts to meet that responsibility have responded by accusing him of criminal activity. Since this is a civil matter, Dr. Eastman will not enjoy the constitutional protections normally afforded to those accused of criminal conduct by their government. Nonetheless, we look forward to responding in due course.”
The House Committee said that the felony fraud exception to attorney-client privilege applies and therefore Eastman’s communications are not protected.
The California Attorney’s Office announced Monday that it launched an investigation into Eastman for his role in trying to overturn the election results.
“The investigation is focused on whether Eastman violated California laws and ethics governing attorneys after and in connection with the November 2020 presidential election,” the announcement said.
The filing says the committee has evidence showing Trump “made numerous false statements about voter fraud … knowing the falsity of those statements and with intent to mislead his audience in the hope that they would trust them.”
In fact, several Jan. 6 defendants have insisted they storm the Capitol because they thought Trump wanted them to.
Thompson also links Trump to the Jan. 6 defendants by alleging that Trump violated the same federal obstruction law that was used more than 175 times in the more than 700 indictments.
Thompson specifically says the evidence gathered so far “provides at least a good basis for concluding” that Trump obstructed an official process of Congress in violation of the same federal disability statute that has been charged more than 175 times in the Department of prosecuting those who who took part in the siege of January 6th.
While several defendants have at least attempted to have those charges dropped seven federal judges Oversight of the January 6 cases has allowed prosecutors to proceed with the indictment.
The million dollar question
According to CNN’s legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, the committee’s filing is notable for several reasons Jennifer Rodgers.
“It’s important to understand what this brief is and isn’t — it’s not yet an indictment or even a criminal referral…” Rodgers told Law&Crime in an email. She noted that she believes the committee argued strongly enough to at least get the judge to review Eastman’s emails before deciding whether to turn them over to the House committee.
“But whether or not the committee receives these emails, it suggests to me that it is likely that in releasing their report they will allege criminal conduct on the part of Trump and make a criminal referral to the DOJ.” Then the million dollar question will be what does the DOJ do with that referral,” Rodgers said, later adding, “[I]f I am confident that the DOJ will make its own assessment of the evidence and will not be heavily influenced by what Congress wants.”
Rodgers believes that “more than enough evidence has been released so far that the DOJ should already be conducting a criminal investigation into Trump and others, but we don’t know if that’s happening or not.”
She also believes that public opinion could have “some” influence on whether the Justice Department ultimately decides to indict Trump.
“The DOJ obviously has to abide by the law, and if there isn’t enough evidence, there will be no criminal prosecution,” Rodgers said. “But if there is sufficient evidence, the DOJ must decide whether it is in the nation’s best interest to indict the former president.” I think the more evidence that is released and the more compelling the arguments that indictments need to be made here, the more likely the DOJ is to move forward. As such, the work of Congress is quite important in shaping public perception and keeping the pressure on the DOJ.”
Read Thompson’s file below.
[Images via YouTube screengrab/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.]
Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected]
https://lawandcrime.com/jan-6-committee/outlining-potential-criminal-charges-against-trump-jan-6-committee-releases-emails-about-coup-memo-lawyers-bullst/ January 6 committee outlines possible case against Donald Trump