Author of infamous Jan. 6 memo asserts attorney-client privilege over docs requested by House investigators

Author of infamous Jan. 6 memo asserts attorney-client privilege over docs requested by House investigators
John C. Eastman, image via Wikimedia Commons.

John Eastman, the attorney who drafted a now-infamous memo containing a blueprint for how former Vice President Mike Pence could throw out the results of the 2020 election, has claimed attorney-client privilege as he reviews nearly 100,000 pages of documents to be submitted to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

Eastman “has attempted to shield more than 10,000 pages of emails and counting from congressional investigators, citing attorney-client or attorney work-product privileges,” Politico reported on Monday.

According to court filings obtained by Politico, Eastman has gotten through roughly half of the records sought by congressional investigators and has marked tens of thousands as privileged.

On Jan. 26, United States District Court Judge James Carter “ordered Eastman to review 1,500 pages per day and determine whether any privileges apply. Carter, who has emphasized the urgency of the Jan. 6 investigation, required Eastman to produce a daily log of documents he is withholding to give committee investigators a chance to object to his privilege claims,” wrote Politico. “Carter has said he intends to review any disputed documents as Eastman nears completion of his full review.”

Lawmakers are seeking justification for Eastman’s privilege claims, given that he was not an official member of then-President Donald Trump’s legal team during the violent insurrection.

House Counsel Doug Letter believes that Eastman’s invocation of privilege is a stalling tactic, Politico noted.

“The Select Committee’s urgent need for resolution of the privilege issues is heightened by the fact that Plaintiff has broadly claimed privileges over a vast swath of documents—many of which appear to be critical to the Select Committee’s investigation,” Letter wrote in a Friday court filing.

Eastman, meanwhile, believes that the Select Committee is treating him as a political punching bag ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

“To the extent the congressional defendants’ claimed ‘urgent need for resolution of the privilege issues’ is motivated by the looming 2022 midterm election, this is not a valid reason to alter this Court’s January 26 order,” his lawyer said, according to Politico.

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