Trump Perjured Himself
The former President knowingly signed a false affidavit in support of the Big Lie.
POLITICO (“Judge: Trump signed court document that knowingly included false voter fraud stats“):
Former President Donald Trump signed legal documents describing evidence of election fraud that he knew were false, a federal judge indicated on Wednesday.
U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote in an 18-page opinion that emails from attorney John Eastman, an architect of Trump’s last-ditch effort to subvert the 2020 election, needed to be turned over to the Jan. 6 select committee. Those emails, Carter wrote, “show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.”
The emails are among the files that Eastman had been declining to turn over to the committee, citing attorney-client privilege. While Carter concluded that some of the materials fell under that privilege, he ruled that Eastman must disclose four emails to congressional investigators because they are evidence of a likely crime.
“The Court finds that these four documents are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of the obstruction crime,” wrote Carter, who is based in California.
According to Carter, Trump and his attorneys alleged in a Dec. 4 filing in Georgia state court that Fulton County had improperly counted more than 10,000 votes of dead people, felons and unregistered voters. They then moved that proceeding to federal court and discussed whether to use the same statistics in that filing. In private correspondence, Trump’s lawyers noted that the then-president had resisted signing documents containing “specific numbers.” On Dec. 31, Eastman emailed other Trump lawyers that the numbers filed in state court were not accurate.
“Although the President signed a verification for [the state court filing] back on Dec. 1, he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate,” Eastman wrote in an email to colleagues. “For him to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.”
However, Trump and his lawyers opted to file the federal complaint using the same numbers that Eastman conceded were inaccurate.
“President Trump, moreover, signed a verification swearing under oath that the incorporated, inaccurate numbers ‘are true and correct’ or ‘believed to be true and correct’ to the best of his knowledge and belief,” added Carter, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. “The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public. The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”
Carter’s ruling arms the Jan. 6 select committee with another batch of evidence supporting its investigation of Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election. Eastman’s emails were part of a cache of thousands held by Chapman University, Eastman’s former employer. The select committee subpoenaed Chapman to obtain the emails in January, and Eastman sued to block their release.
The judge’s latest decision could also provide legal fodder for ongoing criminal investigations being conducted by the Justice Department and by prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia into the efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the election. It’s unclear whether those investigators already have the emails at issue, but if they don’t, Carter’s latest ruling has put some on the public record and could ease access to others.
This is indeed rather compelling evidence that Trump knew that the claims he was making had no basis in fact. That he continued making them in public is disgraceful. That he did so under penalty of perjury is criminal.
This clearly falls under the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege and Carter seems to have been exceedingly scrupulous in only allowing four emails to be released. I am not a lawyer but it seems evident to me that there was enough information already publicly available, mostly thanks to the January 6 Committee’s work, to have constituted a threshold showing that the exception was likely to be applicable.
I’m still skeptical, for a number of reasons, as to whether Trump will ever be criminally charged. Certainly, though, it gets more likely every time there’s a major finding.