Judge Rejected Perry’s Bid To Shield Phone Contents

Politico reports:

The chief judge of the federal district court in Washington, D.C., secretly rejected Rep. Scott Perry’s bid to shield more than 2,000 messages relevant to Justice Department investigators probing efforts by Donald Trump to subvert the 2020 election, according to newly unsealed court filings.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell unsealed her extraordinary Dec. 28 decision on Friday evening, determining that the “powerful public interest” in seeing the previously secret opinion outweighed the need for continued secrecy.

Prosecutors homed in on Perry last year, seeking his contacts with top figures connected to Trump, including Clark and attorney John Eastman, an architect of Trump’s last-ditch bid to remain in power despite losing reelection. And in August, Perry’s phone was seized by FBI agents while he was traveling with family.

CNN reports:

Howell also called Perry’s phone compendium a “multi-pronged push for Executive Branch officials to take more aggressive action,” likely in response to suspicions of election fraud, and deemed those cell phone records not covered by congressional protection.

In another part of her rulings, Howell wrote how Perry’s communications with private individuals shouldn’t stay secret, either – including almost 700 records showing his interest in election security and electors as well as contact with Trump campaign attorneys.

While Howell ultimately let Perry keep about 161 of his records from investigators under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause – a provision that shields legislators from certain law enforcement actions targeting conduct related to their legislative duties – she ordered that the 2,000 other records be given to Justice Department investigators.