Trump likely committed crime with plan to obstruct Congress, US judge says

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge ruled on Monday that former President Donald Trump “more likely than not” committed a crime when he tried to pressure his vice president to obstruct Congress. and reverses its electoral defeat of January 6, 2021.

The claim was part of a ruling that the House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly attack on the US Capitol had the right to see emails written to Trump by one of his lawyers at the time, John Eastman . The judge said Trump’s plan to undo his defeat amounted to a “coup”.

“The Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” U.S. District Judge David Carter in Los Angeles said in a ruling. written.

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Los Angeles-based representatives for Trump and Eastman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Carter does not have the authority to bring criminal charges against Trump. This decision is expected to be made by US Attorney General Merrick Garland for violation of federal law.

The Capitol riot occurred as then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of both houses of Congress gathered to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory in November 2020.

“Dr. Eastman and President Trump have launched a campaign to overturn a Democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history,” Carter wrote. “Their campaign was not limited to the ivory tower – it was a coup in search of legal theory.”

The Democratic-led committee was formed to investigate last year’s attack on the Capitol by thousands of Trump supporters, more than 750 of whom have been criminally charged.

The committee said earlier this month it believed Trump may have committed multiple crimes.

Before the crowd stormed the Capitol, Trump delivered a fiery speech in which he falsely claimed his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud, a claim rejected by multiple courts, election officials State and members of its own administration.

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Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Grant McCool

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.