John Eastman, the lawyer who was hired by former President Donald Trump to look into alleged election issues, has claimed that he was “frisked” by federal agents and had his cellphone seized while he was leaving a restaurant last week.
Eastman filed a motion in the U.S. District Court in New Mexico on Monday asking for the seized belongings to be returned to him, arguing that the search warrant officers had used was “unlawful” and violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
According to the motion, federal agents served a search warrant on Eastman on June 22 while he was leaving a restaurant which allowed them to seize any electronic or digital device of his, including cell phones, iPads, USBs, and computers.
The motion does not state exactly where the alleged frisking incident occurred but CNN reported that it took place in New Mexico,
Eastman asked the federal agent to show him the warrant but the officer declined, according to the motion. He was then “forced” to unlock his phone for officers.
“Federal agents served a search warrant (Exhibit 1) on movant while movant was exiting a restaurant. Movant asked to see the warrant, but the executing officer refused. Movant was frisked. Movant’s phone—an iPhone Pro 12—was seized. Movant was forced to provide biometric data to open said phone,” reads the filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. “He was only given a copy of the search warrant but not the supporting affidavit referenced in it.”
The motion goes on to state that the federal agents identified themselves as members of the FBI but that they “appeared to be executing a warrant issued at the behest of the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.”
Eastman argues that the search warrant was unlawful because the Department of Justice’s Office of the Attorney General “outstripped its mandate by targeting a person outside of the DOJ”, and because the warrant issued “does not describe with particularity the items to be seized, is overboard and provides no probable cause link to any criminal activity” which violates the requirements of the fourth amendment.”
The lawyer adds that the warrant violated his fifth and sixth amendment rights and “fundamental privacy interests” because officers “forced” him to unlock the iPhone with face ID, which effectively forced him to “testify.”
“By its very breadth, the warrant intrudes on significant privacy interests, both of [Eastman] and of others whose communications with him are accessible on the seized cell phone,” his lawyers wrote in the motion.
The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ) for comment.
Advising Donald Trump
Eastman, a former conservative legal scholar at Chapman’s Fowler School of Law, began advising Trump in August 2020, according to court papers. He begin working closely with Trump in December 2020, after it was declared that President Joe Biden had won the election.
The attorney had sought to use alternative electors to overturn the election results in favor of Trump, his emails allegedly showed, and argued that then-Vice President Mike Pence could block the certification of the electoral votes.
He also appeared on stage alongside Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the “Stop the Steal” event on Jan. 6 where he claimed that election fraud had taken place in the 2020 elections.
Due to his close ties with Trump, the lawyer has become the latest individual ordered by a judge to hand over his communications— amounting to roughly 19,000 emails sent from his Chapman email account between Nov. 3, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021—to the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Eastman had initially sued to block a congressional subpoena, asserting his Fifth Amendment right.
The attorney ultimately resigned from Chapman University in January 2021 following backlash over his appearance on stage on Jan. 6, however, he claims he did not enter the Capitol building on the day of the breach.