As the House Jan. 6 committee heads towards its final public hearing, lawyers are criticizing the panel for engaging in overreach and harassing targets through onerous document production requests.
The comments were made as the committee is currently locked in a battle with former President Donald Trump’s election attorney John Eastman on the production of 576 emails subpoenaed by the panel. The committee in an Oct. 3 filing before a federal district court argued that Eastman was improperly holding back documents, under the guise of attorney-client privilege and attorney work-product privilege.
Eastman, 62, helped prepare legal filings for Trump that contested the results of the 2020 presidential election in several states. The committee has contended, in part, that the filings were an attempt to overthrow the government.
Eastman’s attorneys, in response, accused the committee of attempting to undermine the attorney-client relationship.
His lawyers further said that the court has already ruled on the matter and found in the vast majority of cases for Eastman’s claim that attorney-client privilege prevented Eastman from disclosing the documents to the committee
“Judge Carter found Dr. Eastman’s privilege logs perfectly adequate to dismiss a majority of the January 6 Committee’s attempts to subvert attorney-client privilege,” said Eastman’s attorneys from Burnham & Gorokhov said in the statement.
As proof of Eastman’s alleged attempts to improperly shield documents from investigators, the Jan. 6 committee released an email between Trump’s election lawyers in which they joked about Trump.
One of the email’s authors, former Trump lawyer Bruce Marks, accused the committee of releasing the exchange in an attempt to embarrass Trump’s lawyers.
“At the time of the emails on December 30 and 31, 2020, Professor Eastman, Ken Chesebro, and I were representing President Trump in litigating a U.S. Supreme Court petition filed on December 23,” Marks told Politico. “These emails were part of a privileged exchange. Regardless of whether specific tongue in cheek emails were protected by the attorney-client privilege, they were clearly protected by First Amendment rights of political association and free speech.”
One lawyer who has defended a half-a-dozen people who have been charged as a result of actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6. applauded Eastman and his attorneys for pushing back.
By John Ransom