Dec 19, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Scott Perry ordered to turn over phone data to DOJ in Jan. 6 case

 Rep. Scott Perry speaks during a November news conference in Washington, DC.

Rep. Scott Perry during a November news conference in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) must turn over almost 1,700 records recovered from his phone to the Department of Justice for special counsel Jack Smith's investigation into former President Trump's 2020 election interference case, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Why it matters: The federal judge's ruling in D.C. is the latest turn in a long-standing battle with the DOJ for Perry, the chair of the House Freedom Caucus who helped press Trump's baseless voter fraud claims in the run-up to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

Driving the news: After FBI agents seized Perry's phone last year as part of the DOJ's Jan. 6 investigation, the Trump ally argued that more than 2,000 of the seized communications "were privileged under the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause" — which grants sitting Congress members immunity from criminal investigation.

  • A federal appeals court directed Chief U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to review the communications documents seized from Perry's phone after a federal judge ruled he should disclose them.
  • "Having now analyzed each of the 2,055 documents still at issue, the Court will order Perry to disclose 1,659 of them, but not the 396 others," Boasberg wrote in his ruling.

Of note: Perry filed a lawsuit against the DOJ, asking a federal judge to return the phone data, arguing that the communications contained personal information and saying "none of this is the government's business."

  • However, he later dropped the suit. Perry's lawyers told The Hill they had "voluntarily dismissed our motion for an injunction" following "the cooperative spirit" of discussions that had taken place.
  • Representatives for Perry did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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