Reporter: Why judge's comment about Trump is a big deal
01:10 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Former Donald Trump lawyer John Eastman has asked the Supreme Court to reverse lower court rulings that allowed for the now-defunct House January 6 committee to access emails he sought to shield under attorney-client privilege.

The committee obtained the handful of emails questions after a federal judge, in a notable March 2022 ruling, concluded that the emails fell under the so-called “crime-fraud” exemption to the privilege because the emails showed that Trump and Eastman may have been plotting a crime in their efforts to disrupt Congress’ January 6, 2021, election certification vote.

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Judge David Carter wrote at the time.

Eastman, when he was Trump’s attorney during the 2020 election, spearheaded efforts to convince Vice President Mike Pence to delay Congress’ counting of the Electoral College votes on January 6. Pence ultimately resisted the pressure from Trump and his allies to interrupt the congressional ceremony.

“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Carter added. “Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the Vice President to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election … Every American – and certainly the President of the United States – knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed.”

In Eastman’s new petition with the Supreme Court, which was initially filed in late April but only publicly posted on the high court’s online docket this week, Eastman argues that Carter’s ruling “created a stigma for both Petitioner and his client, the former President of the United States and current candidate for the presidency.”

Eastman is asking the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling, even though the case became moot when the emails were handed over to the committee and then inadvertently made public with a live link that was left unredacted in a court filing submitted by the committee’s lawyers.

“Respondent committee’s action of accessing disputed documents while a motion to stay was pending, and then publishing in a public filing a live link to the confidential documents that were the subject of the appeal, deprived Petitioner of the opportunity to show that the ‘crime-fraud’ conclusions of the District Court were clearly erroneous, thus clearing his name and that of his former client, former President Trump,” the petition said.

Eastman is a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas has been scrutinized for his participation in cases involving the January 6 committee’s investigation, after it was revealed that Thomas’s wife was in communication with key players to the election reversal schemes, including Eastman.

During an interview with the House January 6 committee last year, Ginni Thomas said she did not speak to her husband about her post-2020 election political work.

CNN’s Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.