John Eastman Attempt To Obstruct Investigation Denied By Judge

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New Mexico federal Judge Robert Brack has denied an attempt by former Trump attorney John Eastman to reclaim a phone of his from the Justice Department, which seized the device in June in connection to wide-ranging investigations at the department into pro-Trump attempts at meddling with the outcome of the last election.

Eastman was involved in promoting the concept of using so-called alternate slates of electoral votes for Trump in swing states Biden won as part of the scheme to block the current president’s victory. In general terms, the alternate electors, who had no recognized legal foundation for their actions, were meant for use in giving an excuse for then-Vice President Mike Pence or another presiding official to block the electoral votes Biden secured from critical states. Although one of the justifications from those involved in assembling the essentially faked electoral votes has been that the moves were simply meant to keep Trump’s options open should he have prevailed in election-related litigation, post-election communications involving an Arizona lawyer tied to the former president, who was recapping discussions with fellow Trump-tied lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, indicated at least some of those involved were already eyeing the certification proceedings planned for January 6, without necessarily paying any attention to any court outcomes.

In court, Brack rejected Eastman’s effort at obtaining his phone on the basis of issues including jurisdiction. “Eastman’s argument regarding privileged material fails for the same reason that his argument on the purported First Amendment violation fails: he is pressing this issue with the wrong court,” Brack said. “Should Eastman be concerned that the Government has access to material protected by the attorney-client privilege or work-product doctrine, he may file a motion for relief in the District of Columbia.” A second court-issued warrant issued in D.C. court covering the government’s actual search of Eastman’s device includes safeguards for handling potentially privileged material. Brack also noted the protective procedures outlined in the warrant in rejecting Eastman’s push. Broadly, the judge found Eastman didn’t make a conclusive showing of “irreparable harm” on his part inherent in the government continuing to hold onto his phone. Eastman even already obtained a new device, replacing his phone.