Big Name at Jan. 6 Hearings Says FBI Agents Frisked Him, Took Phone

John Eastman has filed court documents seeking to get it back
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2022 12:24 AM CDT
Big Name at Jan. 6 Hearings Says FBI Agents Frisked Him, Took Phone
Chapman School of Law professor John Eastman testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 16, 2017.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – John Eastman, the lawyer who helped former President Trump in his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, says his cellphone was seized by federal agents who frisked him as he left a restaurant last Wednesday night. Eastman, who has often and prominently been mentioned during the House of Representatives' hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, made the allegation in a filing in a federal court in New Mexico challenging the legitimacy of the warrant the agents were acting under. He says the agents said they were from the FBI, but the warrant appeared to be from the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General, the AP reports.

In his filing, he argues the warrant is overly broad (claiming the OIG has no jurisdiction to investigate him because he never worked for that office), nonspecific (it does not specify any alleged crime in which evidence found on the phone would be relevant), and lacking in probable cause. He also claims the agents forced him to use Face ID to unlock the iPhone, in effect forcing him to testify and thus violating his Fifth Amendment rights, the Hill reports. The phone that was taken has emails on it that the House panel has been trying to get him to turn over for months, and in his filing, he asks the court to force the return of his phone to him and order the records obtained from the phone destroyed, CNN reports. (Read more Jan. 6 hearings stories.)

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