The House Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol is dropping its efforts to compel John Eastman, a key figure behind former President Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the 2020 election results, to release close to 14,000 documents to the panel.
The committee said in a court filing Friday that, after reviewing a log detailing 20,110 pages that Mr. Eastman withheld citing attorney-client privilege, it will now only seek the release of just 2,945 pages.
The House committee’s lawyers asked that the court review the pages and expedite briefings should Mr. Eastman object to their release, citing the committee’s public hearings scheduled for next month.
The filing was first obtained by Politico which reported on the committee’s decision Saturday.
The decision follows Mr. Eastman’s release of more than 10,000 pages of records to the committee last week.
Mr. Eastman said in a court filing last week, that he decided to lift previous claims of privilege on the documents due in part to a March ruling in which a federal judge declared that Mr. Eastman likely illegally conspired with Mr. Trump to overturn the 2020 election.
The documents are part of nearly 37,000 pages Mr. Eastman has attempted to withhold from the committee after the House panel subpoenaed his former employer Chapman University for the release of his emails sent between Nov. 3, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021.
Mr. Eastman sued to block the release of the documents in January, claiming attorney-client privilege but said Friday that he would lift his claim on nearly one-third of the documents after further review and in light of a March by U.S. District Court Judge David Carter in which he declared that Messrs. Eastman and Trump “more likely than not” criminally conspired to overturn the election.
Mr. Carter had previously ordered Mr. Eastman to review each document individually and promptly hand over each document for which his claim of privilege does not apply to the committee and to provide an itemized “privilege log” describing the contents of the withheld documents.
The committee has pegged Mr. Eastman, who lawmakers allege attempted to convince Vice President Mike Pence that he could block the election certification process on Jan. 6, 2021, as a key witness in its nearly year-long probe.
Mr. Pence ultimately rejected calls to challenge the election and certified the results.
Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, has recently touted a series of public hearings beginning in June in which he said the panel would begin to unpack its findings.
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