Federal judge says Trump committed “more than he did” in trying to prevent Congress confirmation of Biden’s victory

U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter’s decision came in the wake of several important emails from Trump’s friendly and conservative lawyers. John Eastman He opposed the January 6 riots and the return to the House Select Committee, which is investigating attempts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Eastman wrote key legal notes aimed at denying Democrat Joe Biden victory. The judge assesses whether Eastman’s communications are protected by attorney-client privilege, and examines in part whether Eastman, Trump and others consulted about a crime.

“Based on the evidence, the court found that President Trump’s attempt to prevent a joint sitting of Congress on January 6, 2021 was more corrupt,” Carter, based in California, wrote. Eastman sued.

Trump spokeswoman Taylor Budovich called the ruling “absurd and baseless” and said it was “an example of how the Left is arming every branch of government against President Trump.”

Published by Eastman’s Legal Committee A statement Eastman said he had a “duty” to raise attorney-client privileges to protect communications for those he represented, but he “wished to comply with a court order ‘to change the documents.

Based on a review of Eastman’s email communications, Carter based his promises – the judge concluded that only one of them could be evidence of a further increase in crime – as well as the generally known facts about Trump’s actions prior to the January 6 riots.

His The verdict does not mean Trump will be indicted or tried. But the comment will increase pressure on the judiciary to intensify its investigation into the January 6 riots and examine Trump’s behavior. When Attorney General Merrick Garland has promised Those responsible for Capitol’s violent violations “at any level” must be held accountable There are no indications that the judiciary is directly investigating Trump’s behavior.

The verdict was a victory on Jan. 6. Has actively moved to call supporting documents and witnesses to this. The committee is set to vote Monday night into the denial of two former Trump aides, former director of trade and production Peter Navarro and former communications chief Daniel Scovino Jr., to criminal contempt for Congress. If the panel approves the matter, the council will vote on whether to send Navarro and Scavino to court to prosecute.

The The group also plans to have an interview with Virginia Thomas, The wife of Conservative activist and Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas, said a person familiar with the matter spoke anonymously to discuss internal committee plans. Virginia Thomas, passing by Ginny, He reviewed the text messages he sent to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in which he repeatedly Pressed The grassroots are actively working to keep Trump in power by defeating the 2020 election.

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Committee Chairman Penny G. Thompson (D-Miss.) And Vice President Liz Cheney (R.Y.) said in a statement that the judge’s verdict was a “victory for the rule of law.” Get important items for their investigation.

On Monday, former U.S. attorney Barbara McWatt said Carter’s verdict was particularly significant because she had “read emails previously unknown to the public, and her reaction was a serious warning.”

“While the DOJ will make its own decisions about when to start the trial, today’s verdict cannot be ignored,” McQuade said.

Former federal prosecutor Randall Eliasson noted While the ruling will have no legal impact on the actions of the judiciary, a federal judge has recommended a second time that Trump may be guilty of a crime related to Jan. 6. Last month, a federal judge in DC Rejected Trump’s claim to be acquitted He was accused of inciting riots and found credible evidence that he was involved in a conspiracy with organized groups to intimidate Congress.

“It starts with a certain kind of speed,” Eliasson said.

In his judgment, Carter noted that he was evaluating the legal arguments surrounding whether Eastman could be forced to hand over documents to the Jan. 6 committee – not deciding how the legal system should respond to Trump’s actions. But he suggested that Trump and his allies should be held accountable by someone else.

“More than a year after the attack on our Capitol, the public is still seeking accountability. That fact must be taken into account. ” This is not a criminal case; This is not even a civil liability case.

Eastman’s Law Committee said in its statement that the court’s findings were “not subject to presumption of innocence, nor are there any constitutional safeguards in place that are beyond reasonable doubt or generally applicable to criminal proceedings.”

“Dr. Eastman is an accomplished lawyer and does not respect the judge’s findings, ”the panel said.

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A spokesman for the judiciary declined to comment.

Former U.S. attorney Joyce White Vance said that in assessing whether Trump committed a crime, Carter’s “evidence priority” shows just that. That legal standard, used in civil cases, is less rigorous than what criminal prosecutors have to show: the evidence proves Trump’s guilty “beyond reasonable doubt.”

“But,” Vance added, “the evidence is compelling.”

Of Carter 44 page comment Legislators have the right to keep 101 of the 111 documents requested by the panel. The feedback panel examines whether they can be accessed or protected by attorney-client privilege and evaluates items within the modules.

Most notably, the verdict assesses whether 11 of the so-called “crime-fraud exceptions” documents need to be replaced. That exception allows the panel to come around under the shield of attorney-client privilege if lawmakers are able to prove the communications that lead to a crime.

Only one of those 11 documents qualified, The judge ruled: “The chain that sent Dr. Eastman a draft note written for President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.” Carter wrote that the memo on Jan. 6 suggested that Vice President Mike Pence should reject voters from running states.

“This is the first time President Trump’s team members have turned the legal interpretation of the Electoral Act into a day-to-day program,” the ruling said. “The draft note put forward a strategy of knowingly violating the Electoral Number Act, and Dr. Eastman’s later notes closely monitor its analysis and proposal.

Nine of the 11 documents were “emails or attachments discussing cases pending in state and federal courts,” the judge wrote. Another was a late January 6 e-mail saying, “In response to Dr. Eastman’s request to participate in the work on behalf of President Trump.”

“While the email discusses Vice President Pence’s refusal to reject or delay the election count, that email is not an ‘upgrade’ of the program and thus does not fall into the crime-fraud exception,” the ruling said.

Carter responded to what the group’s attorneys filed in court earlier this month He accused Trump and key allies of committing potential crimes During the attempt to overthrow the election. They specifically cited a conspiracy to deceive the United States and an obstacle to the action of the official Congress – counting the electoral votes.

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Carter broke every possible charge, describing in detail Trump’s pressure that Benz should “Determine the 2020 election results with one hand.”

On Jan. 4, the judge wrote that Trump and Eastman held a meeting at the Oval Office with Benz and his advisers, and that Eastman put forward a plan to “reject the election or focus on delaying the numbers.” When Pence did not insist, the judge wrote that Trump had sent Eastman with Pence’s attorney to reconsider the plan. At that meeting, the judge wrote, “I ask you to reject the election.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) And former President Donald Trump have expanded on what they said during the January 6 call in recent months. (Video: JM Reiger / The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Potsford / The Washington Post)

On Jan. 6, the judge wrote that Trump had posted messages on Twitter urging Pence to act, and called Pence directly, urging him to “make the call and execute the plan.” Trump then addressed a large crowd on Mount Ellipse. Trump warned: “Mike Pence, I hope you will stand up for the good of our Constitution and the good of our country. If you are not, I would be very disappointed about you. I tell you right now. ”

Trump ended his speech by asking his supporters to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, and the judge wrote that Benz and Congress should be given “the pride and courage needed to get our country back.”

“Together, these measures will be more than attempts to prevent an official move,” his ruling says.

Eastman and Trump “justified the plan with allegations of electoral fraud – but that justification is unfounded, so President Trump may have known that the whole plan was illegal,” Carter wrote.

The judge noted that executive branch officials had “publicly stated to President Trump that there was no evidence of fraud and had personally asserted that there was no evidence of fraud,” and that in early January, “more than sixty courts dismissed the fraud allegations.” Lack of position or lack of evidence. “

“Dr. Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overthrow a democratic election, a move unprecedented in American history, “the judge concluded. This plan provoked violent attacks on the government of our nation, led to the death of many law enforcement officials, and deepened public distrust in our political process.

Jacqueline Alemani, Josh Dawsey and Amy P. Wang contributed to the report.

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