Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday that the Justice Department obtained a second search warrant for the phone of conservative lawyer John Eastman, who played a key role in former President Trump’s unsuccessful election steal scheme.
In a filing late last month, Eastman’s attorney, Charles Burnham, said his phone was seized by the FBI. Burnham wrote that six federal investigators approached Eastman in New Mexico as he left a restaurant where he had dinner with his wife and a friend. Burnham said that federal agents identified themselves as FBI agents, but “appeared to be executing a warrant issued at the behest of the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.”
Eastman asked a federal judge to order the DOJ to return his phone, eliminate records it obtained and to block investigators’ access to it.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors responded to Eastman’s filing late last month challenging the seizure of his phone. In their filing, prosecutors said they obtained a second warrant on July 12 to search the contents of Eastman’s phone. Prosecutors said Eastman’s phone is currently in northern Virginia and is in the possession of federal agents with the DOJ’s OIG.
Prosecutors said that the second warrant includes a so-called “filter protocol” to prevent investigators from obtaining potentially privileged information from Eastman’s phone. Eastman’s counsel has been informed about the protocol, according to the filing.
The filing was submitted Matthew Graves, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Thomas Windom, a career federal prosecutor who serves as a leading investigator into the DOJ’s Jan. 6 investigation.
The search and seizure of Eastman’s phone last month appeared to have occurred the same day investigators searched the Virginia home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who attempted to weaponize the department as a tool to interfere with the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory on behalf of former President Trump.
Amid Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 presidential election, Eastman pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to toss out the results of the 2020 election. Last March, a federal judge found that Eastman and Trump “likely” committed a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election results on Jan. 6.