Wednesday August 10, 2022

A lawyer linked to Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse the result of the 2020 election has claimed the FBI stopped him outside a restaurant and seized his phone.

In a court filing, John Eastman said that federal agents approached him on the evening of 22 June.

The details of the alleged incident were contained within a court filing, in which the 62-year-old was trying to recover the property.

“On the evening of June 22, 2022, federal agents served a search warrant  on movant while movant was exiting a restaurant,” said the filing.

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“Movant asked to see the warrant, but the executing officer refused. Movant was frisked. Movant’s phone—an iPhone Pro 12—was seized.”

It added: “Movant was forced to provide biometric data to open said phone. Movant was not provided a copy of the warrant until after his phone was seized, and even then, he was only given a copy of the search warrant but not the supporting affidavit referenced in it.”

About six federal investigators approached the right-wing lawyer in New Mexico when he was exiting a restaurant after dinner with his wife and a friend, according to the court filings, first reported by CNN.

Agents were able to get access to Eastman’s email accounts on his iPhone 12 Pro, the filings said.

Mr Eastman, a one-time professor of law at the small Chapman University in Orange County, California, is said to have been inextricably involved in Mr Trump’s efforts to hold on to victory, despite his loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

In the days after his loss and as he became more desperate to turn the situation around, Mr Trump invited Mr Eastman to visit him at the Oval Office and expound on his theory, as to how he could still emerge victorious.

His theory, as he outlined in a series of memos – later described by some critics as the “Coup Memos” and based on his alternative reading of the 12 Amendment of the Constitution – suggested the Vice President was the ultimate arbiter in cases where there was disagreement over results, and could oversee the appointment of alternative pro-Trump electors from states where Biden had won.

Working out of a room at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, Eastman and others convinced Trump and some of those close to him, that even at this late, late stage he could retain the presidency.

Mr Eastman later found himself addressing the so-called Stop the Steal rally in Washington DC on the morning of Jan 6.

And all we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1pm, he let the legislators of the state look into this so we get to the bottom of it, and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government, or not,” he said.

As it was, Mr Pence did not agree, and his staff told Mr Eastman he was wrong.

White House lawyer Eric Herschmann told last week told the committee investigating the Jan 6 attacks that he was “out of your f***ing mind”.

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The commitee also played a video deposition of Eastman being quetioned by Jan 6 investigators, repeatedly invoking the Fifth Amendment, as not to potentially incriminate himself. In addition, the committee heard that Mr Eastman was among the Trump loyalists who asked the president for a pardon. He was not granted one.

The search and seizure of Mr Eastman’s phone took place the same day that federal agents raided the home of Jeffrey Clark, the former Justice Department lawyer sympathetic to Trump’s conspiracies of election fraud.

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