On Wednesday, the House January 6 Committee released a bombshell court filing arguing that they have sufficient evidence to refer former President Donald Trump for criminal charges of obstruction of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the United States for his role in the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
According to multiple legal experts, the report lays the groundwork to, among other things, persuade a court to nullify Trump's attorney-client privilege with attorney John Eastman, who drafted the memo laying out a plan to throw out presidential electors in states Joe Biden won, and who is currently under an ethics investigation by the State Bar of California.
Such a ruling would give House investigators wide latitude to subpoena communications between Trump and Eastman, possibly establishing further evidence for their criminal allegations.
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The crime fraud exception is used to obtain testimony even when there is an assertion of attorney-client privilege. You can\u2019t hide your crimes by claiming the privilege. Big news.https://twitter.com/hugolowell/status/1499170609166790660\u00a0\u2026— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene) 1646268227
From J6C's 221 pg. brief: "Plaintiff\u2019s documents should be reviewed..by this Court for application of the crime/fraud exception..Although the investigation is continuing..sufficient information already exists to justify in camera review and likely rejection of those privileges."https://twitter.com/JoyceWhiteVance/status/1499183722649821185\u00a0\u2026— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene) 1646273077
As former Solicitor General Neal Katyal noted, another basis the committee lays out for rejecting attorney-client privilege claims between Trump and Eastman is that the "engagement letter" — the document outlining their legal relationship — appears to never have actually been signed, meaning Eastman's status as Trump's attorney may not even have been legally codified.