Former President Donald Trump signed legal documents describing evidence of election fraud that he knew were false, a federal judge indicated on Wednesday.

U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote in an 18-page opinion that emails from attorney John Eastman, an architect of Trump’s last-ditch effort to subvert the 2020 election, needed to be turned over to the Jan. 6 select committee. Those emails, Carter wrote, “show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.”

The emails are among the files that Eastman had been declining to turn over to the committee, citing attorney-client privilege. While Carter concluded that some of the materials fell under that privilege, he ruled that Eastman must disclose four emails to congressional investigators because they are evidence of a likely crime.

“The Court finds that these four documents are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of the obstruction crime,” wrote Carter, who is based in California.

According to Carter, Trump and his attorneys alleged in a Dec. 4 filing in Georgia state court that Fulton County had improperly counted more than 10,000 votes of dead people, felons and unregistered voters. They then moved that proceeding to federal court and discussed whether to use the same statistics in that filing. In private correspondence, Trump’s lawyers noted that the then-president had resisted signing documents containing “specific numbers.” On Dec. 31, Eastman emailed other Trump lawyers that the numbers filed in state court were not accurate.

“Although the President signed a verification for [the state court filing] back on Dec. 1, he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate,” Eastman wrote in an email to colleagues. “For him to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.”

However, Trump and his lawyers opted to file the federal complaint using the same numbers that Eastman conceded were inaccurate.

“President Trump, moreover, signed a verification swearing under oath that the incorporated, inaccurate numbers ‘are true and correct’ or ‘believed to be true and correct’ to the best of his knowledge and belief,” added Carter, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. “The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public. The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

A spokesman for Trump and an attorney for Eastman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Carter’s ruling arms the Jan. 6 select committee with another batch of evidence supporting its investigation of Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election. Eastman’s emails were part of a cache of thousands held by Chapman University, Eastman’s former employer. The select committee subpoenaed Chapman to obtain the emails in January, and Eastman sued to block their release.

The judge’s latest decision could also provide legal fodder for ongoing criminal investigations being conducted by the Justice Department and by prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia into the efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the election. It’s unclear whether those investigators already have the emails at issue, but if they don’t, Carter’s latest ruling has put some on the public record and could ease access to others.

Carter, who has presided over Eastman’s lawsuit, has become an instrumental figure in aiding the select committee’s efforts. In the spring, he issued rulings delivering thousands of pages of Eastman’s emails to Congress. His March 28 ruling, in which he said it was “likely” that Trump and Eastman conspired to commit felony obstruction, has become a regular feature of the select committee’s public hearings.

At that time, the committee decided not to press for access to more of Eastman’s messages, but recently urged Carter to review an additional set that had yet to be disclosed. Carter agreed that most of the emails the select committee sought were properly designated attorney-client privileged or attorney work-product privileged. However, he said another 33 of them should be delivered to the select committee — including the four that were privileged but fall under the “crime-fraud exception.”

Eastman was a central player in the effort by Trump to pressure his then-vice president, Mike Pence to single-handedly attempt to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election. He battled with Pence’s lawyers even as violence wracked the Capitol.

Among the emails Carter ruled disclosed on Wednesday was an exchange in which one of Trump’s attorneys suggested using pending litigation to force delays in the counting of electoral votes.

“Merely having this case pending in the Supreme Court, not ruled on, might be enough to delay consideration of Georgia,” one of Trump’s attorneys wrote in an email quoted by Carter.

“This email, read in context with other documents in this review, make clear that President Trump filed certain lawsuits not to obtain legal relief, but to disrupt or delay the January 6 congressional proceedings through the courts,” Carter ruled.

You Might Like
Learn more about RevenueStripe...