Pro-Trump lawyer linked to ‘coup memo’ sues Verizon to stop his phone records being examined by Capitol riot committee

Others have filed similar lawsuit arguing that the panel doesn’t have authority to obtain cell phone data

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 15 December 2021 13:56
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Former Donald Trump lawyer John Eastman, who outlined the controversial memo to overturn the 2020 election result, had sued Verizon and the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack over his cell phone records.

The lawsuit filed by Mr Eastman in the US District Court in Washington on Tuesday came as similar lawsuits were filed by four organisers of the January 6th “Stop the Steal” rallies before the Capitol riots.

Mr Eastman’s lawsuit against the mobile network company and committee examining Capitol riots came over subpoenas issued by the committee for the phone records of more than 100 people, including his, and to restrict Verizon from releasing data from it to lawmakers.

"Without prior notice to Dr Eastman, the J6 Committee issued a subpoena to Verizon requesting records for Dr Eastman’s personal cell phone. The subpoena seeks nine categories of information on Dr Eastman’s personal cell phone use over a three-month period. The subpoena does not contain any provision for protection of attorney client privilege," the court documents said.

It argues that the panel’s subpoena of cell phone records is “invalid for several reasons”, and accuses the committee of “attempting to exercise a law enforcement function” and violates his Fourth Amendment right to privacy and the First Amendment.

“The Committee’s lack of validly appointed minority members or a validly appointed ‘ranking minority member’ makes such compliance impossible,” the suit said.

Mr Eastman’s lawsuit states that he is a law professor and practicing attorney. He was also a member of the Republican Party and one of the supporters of former president. Therefore, he argued, this “puts him at odds with the Committee’s highly partisan membership” and said the committee “lack of validly appointed minority members”.

The panel investigating the Capitol riots has seven Democrats and two Republicans.

Mr Eastman reportedly authored the memo which was obtained by The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. It appeared to design a mechanism to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to subvert the Constitution and keep Mr Trump in officer by refusing to certify the election on 6 January.

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