A conservative attorney who helped former President Donald Trump’s efforts to undo the 2020 election results and who has been repeatedly referenced in House hearings on the Jan. 6 assault on Capitol Hill said Monday that federal agents They confiscated his cell phone last week.
John Eastman said officers took his phone as he left a restaurant last Wednesday night, the same day law enforcement conducted similar activities across the country as part of broader investigations into efforts by allies to Trump to overturn the election results in a failed attempt to keep the Republican president in power.
Eastman said the agents who approached him identified themselves as FBI but appeared to be serving an arrest warrant on behalf of the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, which he says has no jurisdiction to investigate him since he never has worked for the department.
The action was revealed in a New Mexico federal court filing in which Eastman questions the legitimacy of the order, calling it too broad, and asks a court to force the federal government to return his phone. The filing does not specify where exactly agents seized his phone, and an attorney for Eastman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Federal agents last week served a series of subpoenas related to a plot by Trump allies to submit fake voter lists in hopes of invalidating the election won by Democrat Joe Biden. Also that day, agents searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark, a Trump justice department official who encouraged Trump to question the election results.
A spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office declined to comment.
Eastman, who last year resigned from his post as a law professor at Chapman University, has been a central figure in the ongoing House committee hearings investigating the Capitol riots, though he has not been among the witnesses. that they declared
The committee has heard testimony about how Eastman introduced an unorthodox, last-minute proposal that challenges the operation of the 130-year-old Voter Count Act, which governs the process for counting election results in Congress.
The committee heard testimony about how Eastman pushed for Vice President Mike Pence to deviate from his ceremonial role and stop certifying electoral votes, a step Pence had no legal power to take and refused to attempt.
Eastman’s plan was for states to submit alternate lists of voters from states Trump was contesting, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
With competing slates for either Trump or Biden, Pence would be forced to reject them, sending them back to states to work out, according to the plan.
An attorney for Pence, Greg Jacob, detailed before the committee at a hearing earlier this month how he had defended himself against pressure from Eastman. The panel played a video showing Eastman repeatedly invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as he was interviewed by the committee.
Eastman then sought to be “on the pardon list,” according to an email he sent to Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, shared by the committee.