Judge: Trump signed legal documents he knew contained false voter fraud numbers

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Emily Elconin/Getty Images)

A federal judge on Wednesday wrote in an opinion that former President Donald Trump signed legal documents alleging voter fraud in Georgia even though he knew the claims were false.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter wrote the opinion as part of a lawsuit filed by John Eastman, the lawyer who crafted Trump's last-ditch effort to challenge the 2020 election results. Eastman sued the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, after it requested his emails regarding the election plot. He has refused, citing attorney-client privilege.

Carter wrote in his opinion that there are at least 33 emails Eastman sent between Nov. 3, 2020 and Jan. 20, 2021 that are related to the committee's investigation and must be turned over because they "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."

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In one email, Eastman wrote that on Dec. 1, 2020, Trump signed papers for a lawsuit in Georgia but has "since been made aware that some of the allegations" in the documents were "inaccurate." He added that if Trump signed new paperwork for the lawsuit "with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) it would not be accurate." Trump and his attorneys did file the complaint, Carter wrote in his opinion, and Trump also signed a legal document while under oath stating that the numbers "are true and correct" to the best of his knowledge.

The Jan. 6 committee has argued that Eastman cannot claim attorney-client privilege because of the "crime/fraud exemption." This means a lawyer does not get to keep client communications confidential if the attorney is found to be helping the client commit a crime, The Washington Post reports.

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