Judge rejects Eastman’s request to protect phone from investigators
A U.S. district judge denied former President Trump’s lawyer John Eastman’s motion to implement a temporary restraining order preventing the Department of Justice (DOJ) from accessing his phone.
In an opinion issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert C. Brack said that Eastman failed to show “a clear and unequivocal right to relief from an immediate, irreparable harm.”
“Because there is no evidence that the Government has searched the phone … and because the warrant specifies that no search of the phone will occur until further order of the court, Eastman fails to show a likelihood of success,” Brack continued.
Federal agents previously served Eastman a warrant to seize his phone and any other electronic devices as well as the information on such devices as he exited a restaurant.
On July 8, Eastman filed a request in the U.S. District Court of New Mexico to implement a temporary restraining order on actions to obtain his phone.
Eastman’s argument to the court stated that the FBI’s search warrant violated his First, Fourth and Fifth amendment rights due to being nonspecific and lacking probable cause.
The phone will be searched as part of a Department of Justice investigation into the lawyer’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and allegations that he was part of efforts to muddle transition of power from Trump to President Biden.
Eastman featured prominently in the third public hearing of the Jan. 6 committee investigation of the attack on the Capitol for allegedly pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results on the day of the riots.
Brack said that “The Government’s interest in investigating the January 6 attacks on the Capitol is substantial” enough that Eastman’s argument that the First Amendment protects his communication lacks strength.
Brack added that the DOJ had said it would retrieve a second warrant before it began searches of Eastman’s phone.
“The Court is relying to a considerable extent on the assertion in the warrant that the investigative team will not examine the contents of the phone until it seeks a second warrant.”
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