DOJ pushes back on Eastman’s efforts to recover his cellphone

The filing is the latest salvo in the department’s increasingly public effort to criminally investigate efforts by Trump and his allies to disrupt the transfer of power and nullify the 2020 election. It’s also the latest indication that the Justice Department considers the Eastman case a high priority — it has dispatched its top Trump-related case investigators, including assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom — to argue the case. Last month, Windom disclosed that the department had obtained a second search warrant for Eastman’s phone to govern matters that may be covered by solicitor-client privilege.

Eastman’s demand that the government return his phone and destroy all copied information would be a « complete purge of documents from the government’s investigative files, » according to the Justice Department, and would « cause substantial harm to the investigation. » , as well as seriously hindering any grand jury’s use of the seized material in a future charging decision. The law does not support such action.

Among Eastman’s complaints: The seizure of his phone, for which a search warrant was obtained, was carried out by the Department of Justice’s inspector general, who typically investigates wrongdoing by department employees. Eastman, on the other hand, is a private attorney. But the ministry said its argument was simply incorrect. The Inspector General has the authority to seek evidence from private parties if it relates to « potential criminal acts that adversely affect the Department. »

« As a matter of common sense, he’s wrong: Investigating wrongdoing by an individual regularly involves obtaining evidence from other people, especially in cases involving conspiracies, » Dohrmann writes.

Eastman also alleged that his Fifth Amendment rights were violated when FBI agents made him unlock his phone with facial recognition, but the Justice Department said the warrant allowed officers to “obtain a physical characteristic mobile,” as Eastman faces, “using their independent knowledge of the feature that would be relevant to access the seized device. »

The department’s most pointed response to Eastman came from his complaint that he had not received the search warrant before his phone was seized.

« In the opinion of the mover’s professor, he should have received a copy of the warrant before it was executed, and then apparently had time (minutes? hours?) to read it and analyze it so that he ‘could have called the attention to the numerous constitutional infirmities evident on the front of the warrant, thereby preventing unconstitutional seizure in the first place,” the DOJ noted, “while waiting for officers to stand in a parking lot, in an open carry state, knowing that the mover was authorized to carry a concealed weapon.


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