A federal judge on Monday asserted that it is “more likely than not” that former US President Donald Trump committed crimes in his attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election, and ruled to order the release of more than 100 emails from Trump adviser John Eastman to the committee investigating the January 6 riots at the Capitol.
“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” said U.S. District Court Judge David Carter, according to The Associated Press.
The ruling marked a major legal win for the House panel as it looks to correspondence from Eastman, the lawyer who was consulting with Trump as he attempted to overturn the presidential election.
Eastman was trying to withhold documents from the committee on the basis of an attorney-client privilege claim between him and the former president. The committee responded earlier this month, arguing that there is a legal exception allowing the disclosure of communications regarding ongoing or future crimes.
Charles Burnham, an attorney representing Eastman, said in a statement Monday that his client has a responsibility to his attorney-client privilege and his lawsuit against the committee “seeks to fulfill this responsibility.”
Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson, called the decision an “absurd and baseless ruling by a Clinton-appointed Judge in California."
The select committee has so far subpoenaed a host of Trump allies, including his former lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell.
The House has already voted to hold two Trump associates - former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows - in contempt of Congress for noncompliance with the subpoena.
The committee has also asked Ivanka Trump, daughter of the former President, to voluntarily cooperate with the committee.