National Security

GOP Rep. Perry drops lawsuit requesting return of cellphone data seized by FBI

Associated Press/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) has moved to drop his lawsuit against the Justice Department seeking the return of his cellphone data after it was seized by the FBI.

The Wednesday motion to the court did not provide a rationale for seeking to dismiss the suit, but follows a late August filing asking for additional time to negotiate with DOJ. 

Perry’s phone appeared to have been briefly seized in connection with the DOJ’s probe into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot following the seizure of the phones of two attorneys working closely with former President Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election. 

Perry had claimed his phone contains privileged material, something he says would violate the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which protects members of Congress for actions taken in the course of their job. He also claims his phone contains information covered by attorney-client privilege and marital privilege.

An early August filing indicated Perry rejected an offer by the DOJ to review the contents of the phone jointly so long as he waived any Speech or Debate Clause protections. But another motion later that month sought more time to “allow the parties to further discuss the possibility of resolving” the issue.

Perry’s lawyers on Thursday suggested that time had been productive.

“We’re pleased with the cooperative spirit of the discussions that have taken place, and we have voluntarily dismissed our motion for an injunction. We intend to continue those constructive discussions to resolve the matter. We have no further comment at this time,” attorney John S. Irving said in statement to The Hill.

Perry’s lawyers did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Perry’s phone was seized in August while he was on vacation with his family. His phone was returned the same day after authorities made a copy of the data.

Perry introduced Trump to Jeffrey Clark, then an assistant attorney general at the DOJ. Trump at the time weighed installing Clark, who was willing to forward investigations into Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, as attorney general. The two men had their phones seized by the FBI just a few weeks apart.

Tags election fraud claims Jeffrey Clark Scott Perry

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