Eastman v. Thompson

2022 WL 894256, 594 F. Supp.3d 1156 (2022)

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Eastman v. Thompson

United States District Court for the Central District of California
2022 WL 894256, 594 F. Supp.3d 1156 (2022)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

[Editor’s Note: This brief, and the corresponding casebook excerpt, cover only a small piece of the lengthy discovery order issued by the Central District of California on March 28, 2022.] After President Donald Trump lost the November 2020 election, Trump filed numerous lawsuits alleging election fraud, most of which were dismissed for lack of evidence. Congress was scheduled to certify the states’ electoral votes, thereby finalizing the election results, on January 6, 2021. Before January 6, Trump plotted with his attorney, Dr. John Eastman (plaintiff), to overturn the election. Trump and Eastman, together and separately, held multiple meetings with high-ranking government officials to further their plot. A key part of the plan was to have Vice President Michael Pence reject the states’ electors, thereby preventing the certification of the election results. Pence refused to comply despite Trump’s multiple attempts to pressure Pence. Multiple attorneys and lawmakers explained to Trump and Eastman that their plot was unlawful. Eastman himself acknowledged on multiple occasions that the plan to have Pence unilaterally reject the states’ electors violated federal law. On January 6, Trump’s supporters attacked the United States Capitol in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the certification of the election results. After the failed insurrection, the House of Representatives formed the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol (Select Committee) (defendant). The Select Committee subpoenaed documents from Eastman related to Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. Eastman filed for injunctive relief, arguing that the subpoenaed documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Select Committee countered, arguing that the documents were disclosable under the crime-fraud exception.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Carter, J.)

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