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Federal prosecutors obtain warrant to search lawyer John Eastman's cell phone in January 6 criminal probe

CNN logo CNN 7/27/2022 Hannah Rabinowitz
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The Justice Department obtained a second warrant to search the cell phone of right-wing lawyer John Eastman as part of a January 6-related criminal inquiry, prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday.

Investigators seized Eastman’s phone earlier this month in New Mexico after receiving a warrant to take the device. Agents needed a second warrant to search the contents of the phone, which they received on July 12.

The warrant includes a so-called filter protocol, according to court records, to ensure that investigators do not accidentally obtain privileged information from Eastman’s device.

The warrant is a critical step in the Justice Department’s intensifying probe into January 6, 2021, in which investigators have zeroed in on the efforts by Trump and his close allies to overturn the 2020 election.

Eastman was one of the key individuals involved in pushing the plan for then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election on January 6 by rejecting electors from certain swing states. Two Pence aides recently testified under subpoena to a federal grand jury on the role Eastman and others played in the lead-up to January 6.

Eastman had previously asked a judge in New Mexico to stop the department from accessing the contents of his phone, claiming that agents “forced” him to unlock his phone.

The judge denied the request, saying that investigators had followed the appropriate protocols to acquire the device, and that his communications were not protected under the First Amendment.

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