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Democrats' star J6 witness waived attorney privilege, opening door for GOP inquiry, memos show

Congressional Republicans looking into Cassidy Hutchinson's key testimony to J6 committee's final reports now have evidence she changed her story midway through the probe.

Published: January 5, 2024 11:00pm

Updated: January 6, 2024 2:50pm

As the Jan. 6 congressional investigation rushed to a close in 2022, one of the House Democrats' star witnesses waived her attorney-client privilege with her first lawyer in a move that could now open the door for House Republicans to question both her and her attorney, correspondence obtained by Just the News shows.

Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony played a large role in shaping House Democrats' final report sharply criticizing Donald Trump for the Capitol riot that ensued on Jan. 6, 2021, but Republicans on the House Administration's Subcommittee on Oversight led by Chairman Barry Loudermilk recently discovered an errata sheet she submitted to Congress that made substantial changes to her account midway through the Democrat-led inquiry. Errata sheets are routinely provided to deponents and witnesses by stenographers to allow for correction of typographic errors and dropped words.

You can read that errata sheet here.

Before she submitted the errata sheet in September 2022, correcting and changing testimony she had given back to February of that year, she fired her first attorney Stefan Passantino and hired new lawyers at the prominent firm of Alston & Bird, home to many famous legal luminaries over the decades including the late Senate Republican Leader and presidential candidate Bob Dole.

Her new lawyer at Alston & Bird, Joseph H. Hunt, sent a letter to the House Democrats' J6 committee on Sept. 12, 2022 waiving her privileges with Passantino, according to the correspondence obtained by Just the News. In it she went beyond the correction of typographic errors and gave fresh, substantive testimony to the committee.

"Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 502(a)(1), this letter will confirm that our client, Cassidy Hutchinson, is waiving the attorney-client privilege regarding all communications with her previous counsel, Stefan Pasantino, between February 7, 2022, and June 8, 2022," Hunt wrote the committee led by then-Chairman Bennie Thompson D-Miss.

"The scope of this waiver includes all communications related to Ms. Hutchinson’s interviews with and provision of information to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol," the letter added. "The waiver does not include communications with Alston & Bird attorneys."

You can read that letter here.

Loudermilk told Just the News on Friday he plans to dig deeper into Cassidy Hutchinson's change of story, including interviewing her former lawyer Passantino.

“Cassidy Hutchinson tried to explain her dramatic changes in testimony by blaming her initial lawyer Stefan Passantino. Our discovery of Cassidy’s errata sheet showing just how substantially her story changed, raises serious concerns about her credibility. Until now, her version of the story was the only one,” Loudermilk said.

“Now we know Stefan is no longer prohibited from speaking about his interactions with Cassidy by attorney-client privilege. We look forward to hearing the truth from Stefan about his interactions with his then-client Ms. Hutchinson, and the Select Committee,” he added.

A lawyer for Passantino, Jesse Binnal, said his client is willing to cooperate.

“Mr. Passantino has been put in an awful position. But he is and has always been willing to cooperate with any effort to get at the truth,” Binnal said.

Passantino sued the Congress last month, alleging that the House Democrat-led Jan. 6 investigation imposed a “preordained political and legal narrative“ and violated his rights to due process.

You can read that lawsuit here.

The original judge assigned the case recused himself recently, saying he had asked Passantino to teach one of his law classes last year because he believed the former White House lawyer had a lot to offer law students.

You can read the recusal statement here.