Federal Judge in Jan. 6 Lawsuit Says Trump Lied About Voter Fraud

The former president filed a federal complaint under oath attesting to election claims that he was "aware" were false, a judge ruled

President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Eppley Airfield, in Omaha
Donald Trump. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

A federal judge this week said Donald Trump signed legal documents describing alleged voter fraud that he knew was false, writing in an 18-page opinion that the former president "knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public."

U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote in a ruling published Wednesday that emails from attorney John Eastman, a central figure involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results for Trump, showed that the former president knew there was no voter fraud, but continued to claim it anyway.

Carter added that Eastman's emails must be turned over to the the bipartisan congressional committee investigating the riots, despite Eastman's claims that the emails are privileged due to being attorney-client communications.

The emails, Carter wrote, "are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of the obstruction crime," and should therefore be forwarded on for further investigation.

The emails relate to Trump's claims that 10,000 votes cast in Fulton County, Ga., in the 2020 presidential election came via felons, unregistered voters or dead people. Eastman also emailed other members of Trump's legal team on Dec. 31, 2020, noting that the the president was "aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate."

Even after Eastman sent his email, Trump went ahead with a federal complaint — signed under oath — citing the false numbers, Carter said in his ruling.

"President Trump ... 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," Carter wrote.

Carter is the same federal judge who wrote in a March court filing that "it is more likely than not" that Trump and Eastman enacted a plan to overturn the election, and justified that plan with allegations of election fraud.

Trump and Eastman, Carter wrote in March, "launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history. Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower — it was a coup in search of a legal theory. The plan spurred violent attacks on the seat of our nation's government, led to the deaths of several law enforcement officers, and deepened public distrust in our political process."

Eastman was a close ally of Trump's and has become a central figure in the investigation into the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

A former professor at Chapman University, he has described himself as Trump's attorney who was assisting the then-president in his efforts to prove that the 2020 election was "stolen."

But, according to filings made public by the congressional committee investigating the riots, Eastman was more than an adviser: "He spoke at the rally on the morning of January 6, spreading proven falsehoods to the tens of thousands of people attending that rally, and appears to have a broader role in many of the specific issues the Select Committee is investigating."

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In response to 146 questions posed by the committee, Eastman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the filing says, and has attempted to "conceal a range of relevant documents behind claims of attorney-client privilege and work-product protection."

In addition to the bipartisan House committee, prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., are also investigating Trump and his allies' efforts to overturn the election.

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