Jun 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Court filing reveals FBI seized John Eastman's phone


Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The FBI last week seized the phone of John Eastman, a former attorney for President Trump who helped advise on efforts to overturn the 2020 election, CNN first reported.

Driving the news: Eastman's lawyer revealed the seizure in a court filing Monday, calling the FBI's action unlawful. The filing seeks to have the Department of Justice return the phone and destroy copies of anything that was retrieved from it.

  • The lawsuit claims the FBI carried out the seizure on the behalf of the DOJ's Inspector General's office. Eastman says that office overstepped its authority because he does not work for the DOJ.

Details: Federal agents served Eastman with a warrant while he was eating at a New Mexico restaurant with friends, according to the filing. Eastman's attorney said the agents "forced" him to unlock his iPhone with his biometric data and used that to access his email accounts.

The big picture: Eastman, a conservative lawyer, championed a theory that underpinned Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election — that the vice president could unilaterally reject electors.

  • In a hearing this month, the Jan. 6 select committee revealed that Eastman sought a presidential pardon in the aftermath of the riot.
  • A judge in March said Eastman and Trump "launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history" and the plan was "a coup in search of a legal theory,"

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