Eastman urges delay in Jan. 6 committee’s push for his emails

“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.

Eastman said Carter, who sits in a California-based federal courthouse, should slow the process down and force the committee to disclose more of the evidence it has collected, particularly any that would be “exculpatory.”

“In responding to these claims, [Eastman] is effectively forced into the position of acting as a pseudo-defense attorney for the former President, ”writes his attorney Charles Burnham. “If the former President had himself been charged with these alleged crimes, it could easily be years before an ultimate decision was reached by a judge or jury. Yet plaintiff is now faced with responding to these claims in time for a decision by this Court on March 8. ”

The results of this legal clash are of monumental significance to the select committee’s investigation. The panel is seeking to wind down its probe of Trump’s effort 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.

Among the evidence Eastman says 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 wants any evidence from 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 writes.

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 states, 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 wants 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.

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