“As a member of the Election Integrity Working Group and in furtherance of my representation of President Trump as candidate and his campaign committee, I began conducting legal research and collaborating with academic advisers and other supporters of the President about the myriad number of factual and legal issues we anticipated might arise following the election,” Eastman reveals.
Mitchell directed questions about Eastman’s assertion to her attorney John Rowley, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment,
Eastman’s filing is the first-ever formal description of his legal work for Trump. He described his legal relationship with Trump in court papers filed in the U.S. District Court of Central California, where he’s been ordered by a judge to produce thousands of pages of records to the Jan. 6 select committee. Eastman has attempted to shield many of these records by claiming attorney-client privilege, which prompted the select committee to demand evidence of his legal relationship with Trump, the Trump campaign or the White House.
The judge in the case, David Carter, agreed with the panel and ordered Eastman to detail his work for Trump. The case involves 90,000 pages of Eastman’s emails held by his former employer, Chapman University, which was subpoenaed by the select committee. Although Chapman has agreed to provide the documents, Eastman sued last month to block them.
House General Counsel Doug Letter, who is leading the select committee’s battle in court, indicated in a recent hearing before Carter that the committee considers Eastman to be among the most pivotal figures in the investigation.
“Professor Eastman appears to be a central player in the development of a legal strategy to justify a coup,” Letter said last week.
Tuesday’s filing provides the clearest insight yet into the relationship between Trump and the legal adviser who helped pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to single-handedly attempt to overturn the election. Eastman says he advised Trump on various lawsuits seeking to invalidate millions of votes and spoke to state legislators who he said had the authority to appoint their own set of pro-Trump electors.
Eastman goes on to detail why he opposes the release of hundreds of pages of documents that would shed light on his conversations with the Trump campaign during the key weeks of December.
“[Redacted] is an attorney who reached out to Dr. Eastman offering to serve as a volunteer attorney helping with his efforts on behalf of President Trump,” Eastman says, describing his effort to shield one document from the panel.
Another set of documents he seeks to shield related to “providing expert advice to Dr. Eastman on behalf of a team of statistical experts that were conducting statistical analyses of election returns in a number of jurisdictions.”
Eastman also attempts to shield contacts with a person he identifies only as “Oltmann,” an apparent reference to Joe Oltmann, a podcast host who played an early role in spreading discredited claims about Dominion Voting Systems.
Eastman’s filing indicates that he didn’t formalize his relationship to the Trump campaign until Dec. 6, 2020. He provided an “engagement letter” showing that he began working for the Trump campaign — including Trump in his capacity as a candidate for reelection — at that time. The letter indicated that Eastman would provide representation “in federal litigation matters in relation to the 2020 presidential general election, including election matters related to the Electoral College.”
But the letter Eastman posted with the court is unsigned and could lead to further questions about the timing of his work on Trump’s behalf.
Eastman’s most significant formal legal action was to file a Supreme Court brief on behalf of Trump on Dec. 17, 2020, after it was approved by Trump campaign attorney Matthew Morgan, Eastman says.
Eastman’s filing also includes search terms he is deploying, at the request of the select committee, to identify records from Jan. 4-7 that they have asked be provided quickly.