In a brief filed late last Thursday? night, Trump attorney John Eastman flailed in an attempt to assert attorney client privilege regarding Team Trump’s plot to overturn the 2020 election... including hand written notes from Trump himself!
John Eastman, the right-wing lawyer close to former President Donald Trump who authored a memo outlining how to overturn the 2020 election, is seeking to shield from the House Jan. 6 committee two “hand-written notes” from Trump about “information that he thought might be useful” for an anticipated court battle over the election results. Politico first reported the news Friday, citing a court filing.
That filing also reveals that Eastman regularly communicated with Trump in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. This occurred either “directly with President Trump by phone and by email through his assistant or attorney agents,” or through one of “six conduits to or agents of” the then-president.
Eastman invoking attorney-client privilege is nothing new. Since last November — when he was issued a subpoena — Eastman has regularly sought to slow-roll the process for turning over the more than 94,000 documents that the committee has requested. In December, for instance, he complained about the committee taking testimony in “secret proceedings” — a standard procedure. In a court filing two months later in which he attempted to shield 11,000 emails, the committee was concerned that the vague labels he attached to the emails he refused to hand over made it difficult for it to challenge his privilege claims.
Judge Carter will have to review these documents in order to make a ruling...
In a late-night court filing urging a federal judge to maintain the confidentiality of his work for Trump, Eastman provided the clearest insight yet into the blizzard of communications between Trump, his top aides, his campaign lawyers and the army of outside attorneys who were working to help reverse the outcome in a handful of states won by Joe Biden.
The filing also describes the direct role of Trump himself in developing strategy, detailing “two hand-written notes from former President Trump about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation.” Those notes are among the documents Eastman is seeking to shield via attorney-client privilege. Eastman said he would also speak directly with Trump by phone throughout his legal challenges to the election.
Eastman provides few details about the White House officials and attorneys with whom he was communicating, leaving their names out of the filing. But several of the attorneys filed declarations supporting Eastman’s descriptions of his work for Trump. Those declarations, filed under seal with the court, include attestations from Kurt Olsen, the lead lawyer in a Supreme Court lawsuit that Trump backed to overturn the election results, as well as Bruce Marks, a Pennsylvania lawyer who worked on Trump’s election litigation.
The emails in question are all among 90,000 pages of correspondence Eastman sent from his account at Chapman University, where he worked during his bid to help Trump overturn the election. The select committee subpoenaed Chapman for the documents, and Eastman sued to prevent the school from complying.
Eastman also claims the January 6 Committee is hiding evidence of widespread election fraud...
The Washington Post
Had a few things fallen into place, John Eastman would today probably be a senior adviser to the president of the United States. He would still be embroiled in controversy: That president would be Donald Trump, retaining his position thanks to the anti-democratic efforts of Eastman and others. But the contours of the fight in which he currently finds himself — trying to protect his conversations with Trump from the scrutiny of House investigators — would certainly be different.
On Thursday evening, Eastman’s legal team submitted a filing as part of that effort. It includes new revelations about what’s in the cache of documents that Eastman claims are protected by attorney-client privilege, such as “hand-written notes from former President Trump about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation.” But in an attempt to derail the House select committee’s argument that those communications should not be privileged, given that they may have involved an effort to either commit or obscure a crime (a.k.a. the crime-fraud exception), the filing argues that a challenge to the results of the election was warranted because of the robust evidence that fraud occurred.
And to prove that point, Eastman’s team relies on some wildly dubious claims.
As you probably know, the lawyer was a central actor in Trump’s effort to steal a second term in office. Eastman wrote a memo arguing that Vice President Mike Pence could simply reject electoral votes submitted from various states. The longer version of the memo (apparently written after a briefer, more aggressive iteration received a cool response) included an effort to articulate similar claims about fraud. That the first didn’t spend much time on that point is telling: The first plan of action centered on seizing power, and the rationale was later backfilled.
The brief fails to name the majority of “clients” for whom he’s attempting to claim privilege...
Law & Crime
“Twenty-one of the documents identified above are attachments to the email communications,” Eastman’s brief states. “Most are legal analysis memos (and their supporting data) or drafts of pleadings, quintessential privileged material (as well as work product). Two include hand-written notes from former President Trump about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation—again, quintessential privileged material. Six of the attachments are otherwise public documents, but as the California courts have recognized, ‘the privilege covers the transmission of documents which are available to the public, and not merely information in the sole possession of the attorney or client. In this regard, it is the actual fact of the transmission which merits protection, since discovery of the transmission of specific public documents might very well reveal the transmitter’s intended strategy.”
“Among the 601 documents still in dispute, Dr. Eastman has also asserted attorney-client privilege over fifty documents 25 where the client (or potential client) was other than former President Trump or his campaign committee,” his lawyer Anthony T. Caso wrote.
Eastman says that some of the documents at issue involve communications with state legislators, who factor into the so-called “coup memo” as part of his theory that they had near-absolute discretion to certify electors of their choosing, whatever the vote totals.
I can’t wait for Judge Carter’s reply...