A federal judge in Orange County ruled that Donald Trump and his attorney John Eastman “more likely than not” committed multiple crimes in connection with the 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter issued a ruling that sprung an effort by Chapman Law School professor John Eastman to block his former university from complying with a records request by the Select Committee.
Eastman claims the documents are protected from disclosure under attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine. Carter's opinion narrowed into those legal concepts, which operate to keep certain information from opposing counsel in the context of civil or criminal litigation.
Specifically, Carter stated, “Eastman claims attorney-client privilege over only nine documents: five e-mails and four attachments.” Eastman further claimed 111 documents were protected under work-product protection. Carter stated that Eastman's “potentially unauthorized use” of his university e-mail address for work “did not destroy attorney-client privilege.”
Even if the materials are protected from disclosure, that protection evaporates if they are part of the commission of a crime. Carter found that Trump and Eastman likely committed three crimes:
- Attempting to Obstruct Congress,
- Conspiracy to Defraud the United States,
- Trump engaged in common law fraud.
In summation, Carter concluded, “…this plan was a last-ditch attempt to secure the Presidency by any means.” It violated the Constitution and, per, Eastman's own admission, “several provisions of statutory law.”
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