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Jan. 6 panel accuses Trump of engaging in 'criminal conspiracy,’ tries to pierce legal privilege

This is the first time the committee has accused the former president of participating in criminal activities.

Published: March 2, 2022 9:27pm

Updated: March 2, 2022 10:07pm

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot alleged in a court filing Wednesday that former President Donald Trump participated in a “criminal conspiracy” related to the 2020 election as it sought to pierce his attorney-client privilege.

The committee alleged that the former president and his campaign attempted to illegally obstruct Congress' certification of electoral votes.

"The Select Committee also has a good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States," the panel wrote in a brief that was filed in opposition to Trump attorney John Eastman's claims of claims of attorney-client privilege.

The committee also said that Trump "may have" been involved in other criminal acts as well with Eastman offering legal assistance.

"[E]vidence and information available to the Committee establishes a good-faith belief that Mr. Trump and others may have engaged in criminal and/or fraudulent acts, and that Plaintiff’s legal assistance was used in furtherance of those activities."

Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., released a statement on the allegations Wednesday.

"The Select Committee’s brief refutes on numerous grounds the privilege claims Dr. Eastman has made to try to keep hidden records critical to our investigation. The Select Committee is not conducting a criminal investigation. But, as the judge noted at a previous hearing, Dr. Eastman’s privilege claims raise the question whether the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege applies in this situation," they wrote.

"The facts we’ve gathered strongly suggest that Dr. Eastman’s emails may show that he helped Donald Trump advance a corrupt scheme to obstruct the counting of electoral college ballots and a conspiracy to impede the transfer of power," the duo added.

This is the first time the committee has accused the former president of participating in criminal activities.

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