A federal court stated on Wednesday that former President Donald J. Trump signed a document stating under oath that material in a Georgia lawsuit he filed disputing the results of the 2020 election was truthful, despite his own attorneys telling him it was untrue.
The judge, David O. Carter, ordered conservative attorney John Eastman, who plotted with the former president to reverse the election, to give over 33 further emails to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. The Federal District Court for the Central District of California’s Judge Carter decided that the emails constituted plausible evidence of criminal conduct.
“The emails demonstrate that President Trump was aware of the inaccuracy of the voter fraud statistics, but he proceeded to trumpet them in court and to the public,” concluded Judge Carter. In a footnote, he noted that the lawsuit includes wording indicating that Mr. Trump relied on material given by other parties.
Judge Carter wrote on Wednesday that the crime-fraud exception applied to a number of emails concerning Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman’s “efforts to delay or disrupt the January 6 vote” and “their knowing misrepresentation of voter fraud numbers in Georgia when seeking to overturn election results in federal court.”
Four emails discovered by Judge Carter “show an attempt by President Trump and his counsel to raise fraudulent allegations in federal court in order to prolong the January 6 vote.”
In one of them, Mr. Trump’s attorneys informed him that a pending election challenge before the Supreme Court would be sufficient to postpone the final total of Electoral College votes from Georgia.
“This email,” concluded Judge Carter, “when viewed in context with other records in this review, makes it very evident that President Trump filed some cases not to get legal relief, but to disrupt or postpone the January 6 congressional processes via the courts.”
Another email was connected to the lawsuit Mr. Trump and his attorneys filed in December 2020 in Fulton County, Georgia, alleging that thousands of votes had been unlawfully tallied and listing exact numbers of deceased persons, convicted criminals, and unregistered voters who had cast ballots.
In an email that was ordered to be made public, Mr. Eastman expressed his opinion that Mr. Trump should not sign a document containing specific allegations of voting fraud in the county because his legal team had discovered that they were false.
After the case was transferred to federal court, Mr. Trump did sign a fresh certification on December 31, 2020. The lawsuit includes a disclaimer stating that the voting fraud statistics it cited should be relied on “only to the extent” that “such information has been supplied” to Mr. Trump’s legal team, and that such data is subject to “amendment” or “adjustment.”
The incident was the most recent instance in which Mr. Trump was repeatedly informed that his accusations of massive voting fraud were incorrect, yet frequently persisted in pursuing them. His attorney general at the time, William P. Barr, and other senior officials at the Justice Department, the White House Counsel’s Office, and the Trump campaign warned him at least three times that his allegations of fraud were baseless.
As part of a federal lawsuit Mr. Eastman filed at the beginning of the year, attempting to prevent the committee from acquiring his emails as part of its investigation into Mr. Trump’s attempts to reverse the election, Judge Carter issued his judgement.
In an earlier order published in March, Judge Carter provided a comprehensive examination of the probable offences committed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman, including obstruction of Congress on January 6 and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Mr. Eastman has also been the subject of the Justice Department’s inquiry into the events of January 6 and the preceding months.
Federal authorities confiscated Mr. Eastman’s phone in June as part of what seems to be a comprehensive grand jury investigation into Mr. Trump’s participation in multiple plans to remain in power, including a plot to construct bogus slates of pro-Trump electors in states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. The Washington-based grand jury issued a flurry of subpoenas naming Mr. Eastman and three other attorneys connected to Mr. Trump as persons of interest.