'Stunning' ruling handed 'DOJ a roadmap' to prove Trump's attempt to defraud the government: legal analyst
Donald Trump -- (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

According to Loyola Law School Professor Jessica Levinson, a definitive ruling by U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter on October 19, was both a big win for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the insurrection and a massive setback for Donald Trump's lawyers as they try to stave off criminal charges.

In a column for MSNBC, Levinson said of the finding by Carter that attorney John Eastman must turn over 33 documents sought by the committee, "This is stunning."

As she explained, the ruling blows up all attempts to shield the documents as part of attorney/client privilege because the judge found reason to believe that a crime has been committed.

That, in turn, does not bode well for Eastman or the beleaguered ex-president.

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"Judges do not make a finding like this one lightly. The attorney-client and attorney-work-product privileges are bedrock legal principles. The crime-fraud exception only applies in serious circumstances," she wrote. "Carter’s ruling means Eastman must turn over eight documents that we anticipate will show, once again, that Trump simply could not have believed his lies that the election was stolen."

Pointing out that "Trump signed a verification, under oath, in December 2020, which claimed that in Fulton County, Georgia, over 15,000 voters were improperly counted because they were cast by dead people, felons or unregistered voters," Levinson notes that Carter pointed out that the Eastman emails show Trump "....knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.”

According to Carter, "...these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Levinson further explained, "The emails matter because they undercut Trump’s out-of-court lies that there was massive voter fraud. He knew there was not. He was told there was not. He filed cases anyway because Trump often makes political arguments in legal filings so they have the veneer of legitimacy," before adding, "There are repercussions for lying to a judge."

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"Carter concluded that it is more likely than not that Trump engaged in a crime. Any criminal case against Trump will require proof beyond a reasonable doubt," she continued.

Noting that DOJ has yet to file any charges against Trump related to the Jan. 6 riot, Levinson said the Carter ruling is a game-changer, writing, "Carter’s ruling gives the DOJ a roadmap to proceed and could potentially provide evidence of Trump’s intent to defraud the U.S. government."

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