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Attorney who advised Trump says federal agents confiscated phone

WASHINGTON – A conservative lawyer who supported former President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election results and was repeatedly referenced at House hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, said Monday that federal agents stole his cellphone last week would have confiscated.

John Eastman said agents took his phone as he was leaving a restaurant last Wednesday night, the same day law enforcement officials across the country were conducting similar activities, as part of expanding investigations into efforts by Trump allies to get election results in to overturn an unsuccessful bid to keep the Republican president in power.

Eastman said the agents who approached him said they were FBI, but appeared to be serving a warrant on behalf of the Justice Department’s inspector general, which he says has no jurisdiction to investigate him because he never worked for the department Has.

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The lawsuit was laid bare in a filing in federal court in New Mexico, in which Eastman questions the legitimacy of the warrant, calling it too broad and asking a court to compel the federal government to return his phone. The filing does not indicate exactly where agents confiscated his phone, and an attorney for Eastman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Federal agents last week served a series of subpoenas related to a plan by Trump allies to produce alternative or fake voter rolls in hopes of voiding the election won by Democrat Joe Biden. Also on this day Agents searched the home in Virginia by Jeffrey Clark, a Trump Justice Department official who supported Trump’s challenge to the election results.

A spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office declined to comment.

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Eastman, who resigned from his position as a law professor at Chapman University last year, has been a central figure in the ongoing hearings of the House committee investigating the Capitol riots, though he was not among the witnesses who testified.

The committee heard testimony about how Eastman made a final, unorthodox proposal that challenges the functioning of the 130-year-old Electoral Count Act, which governs the process of counting election results in Congress.

The committee has heard testimony of how Eastman urged Vice President Mike Pence to step away from his ceremonial role and stop the certification of electoral votes, a move Pence had no legal authority to take and refused to attempt. Eastman’s plan was to get states to send alternative voter lists from states Trump had disputed, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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With competing plans for Trump or Biden, Pence would be forced to reject them and hand them back to the states according to the plan to solve the problem.

A lawyer for Pence, Greg Jacob, explained to the committee at a hearing earlier this month how he fended off Eastman’s pressure. The panel played a video showing Eastman repeatedly invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination while being interviewed by the panel.

Eastman later tried to be “on the clemency list,” according to an email he sent to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, which was shared by the committee.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/27/lawyer-who-advised-trump-says-federal-agents-seized-phone/ Attorney who advised Trump says federal agents confiscated phone

Sarah Y. Kim

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