Judge: Trump 'more likely than not' conspired to stop election certification with OC professor

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS) -- A federal judge in Santa Ana ruled Monday that former President Donald Trump "more likely than not" attempted to illegally block Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election, and he likely conspired with a former Chapman University law professor to do it.

In a 40-plus-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered ex-Chapman professor John Eastman to turn over about 100 emails requested by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He found that 10 emails requested by the committee were privileged and did not have to be surrendered.

But in his ruling, Carter makes plain that there was a likely conspiracy between Trump and Eastman to obstruct Congress.

"President Trump attempted to obstruct an official proceeding by launching a pressure campaign to convince Vice President (Mike) Pence to disrupt the Joint Session (of Congress) on January 6," Carter wrote in the ruling.

The judge wrote that Eastman, who was acting as a legal adviser for Trump's campaign, and Trump "more likely than not" conspired to obstruct the congressional action to certify the results of the election, in which Joe Biden was eventually proclaimed the winner over the incumbent.

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A federal judge will hear arguments between former Chapman University law professor John Eastman and the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol to determine if several of his emails will remain private or not.



His ruling cited meetings that occurred in the White House in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, all aimed at pressuring Pence and his staff to carry out a plan aimed at derailing the congressional certification of the election.

"Based on these repeated meetings and statements, the evidence shows that an agreement to enact the electoral count plan likely existed between President Trump and Dr. Eastman," Carter wrote.

The judge also wrote that evidence shows that Eastman "was aware that his plan violated the Electoral County Act," and that he "likely acted deceitfully and dishonestly" in pressing a legally suspect plan to stall the certification of the vote.

The emails that prompted the legal action were written between Jan. 4-7 on Eastman's Chapman University email account. Chapman officials were willing to turn over all of the former professor's emails to the House committee, which amounted to about 30,000, but Eastman sued to block the handing over of the emails to the select committee.

Carter eventually agreed to privately review 111 emails the House committee was requesting as it investigates the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The select committee argued that it needs the emails and revealed that it was investigating the possibility that Trump -- with Eastman's help -- was in charge of a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election of President Joe Biden.

Eastman's attorney, Charles Burnham, said earlier he did not think the emails in question would show any evidence of an intent to commit criminal fraud in seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election result.

Attorney Douglas Letter, who represents the select committee, emphasized that there is a substantial need for the emails in what he said was one of the most important investigations in the history of Congress.

Eastman was forced out of Chapman when faculty and students objected to his attendance at a rally before the violent insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and his work on behalf of Trump's campaign to undo the election results in the courts with claims of fraud that were repeatedly rejected. Eastman is also facing a state bar ethics investigation related to his work for Trump.

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