DOJ says its obtained new search warrant for Eastman’s phone

Federal prosecutors told a judge on Wednesday they have obtained a new search warrant directed at John Eastman, a lawyer who advised former President Trump on a scheme to overturn the 2020 election results, whose phone was seized by investigators last month.

Responding to a federal lawsuit Eastman filed challenging the seizure, Justice Department officials gave new details about their probe into his records and said they have worked to avoid infringing on any attorney-client privilege issues implicated by the search.

“The United States is in possession of Plaintiff’s cell phone, as well as a manual screen capture of certain contents of the device obtained by an agent not associated with the investigation team,” the prosecutors wrote in a court filing in New Mexico federal district court. 

“Plaintiff’s cell phone and the manual screen capture currently are in Northern Virginia, in the possession of federal agents with the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General. On July 12, 2022, a federal agent obtained a second federal search warrant from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that authorizes review of the contents of Plaintiff’s cell phone and the manual screen capture.”

The filing was submitted by Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney for D.C., and Thomas Windom, a federal prosecutor who has been detailed to oversee aspects of the DOJ’s Jan. 6 investigation.
The prosecutors said the DOJ has implemented a “filter protocol” to prevent investigators from reviewing potentially privileged records and that Eastman’s lawyers have been informed about the measure.

Federal law enforcement executed search warrants on Eastman and Jeffrey Clark, the former DOJ official who Trump had nearly installed as acting attorney general, on the same day last month in one of the most overt signs that the department had escalated its investigation into Trump’s inner circle.

Eastman is asking a federal judge to order his phone be returned and that investigators be blocked from conducting a search while his case proceeds.