Federal agents have seized the phone of John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who advised former President Donald Trump during his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, according to a court filing Monday.
Eastman revealed the seized in a lawsuit, filed Monday in a New Mexico federal court, seeking the return of property from the government. According to his filing, FBI agents acting on behalf of the Justice Department's internal watchdog stopped Eastman as he was leaving a restaurant on June 22 and seized his phone.
A copy of the search warrant, included in Eastman's court filings, said the phone would be taken to the Justice Department inspector general's forensic lab in northern Virginia.
The seizure marked only the latest indication of how the Justice Department is intensifying its criminal investigation into Trump's ultimately failed effort to remain in office and prevent the peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden.
On the same day FBI agents seized Eastman's phone, federal investigators descended on the home of Jeff Clark, a former Justice Department official who eagerly advanced Trump's baseless claims of election fraud. That search unfolded on the eve of a congressional hearing in which the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol highlighted Trump and Clark's effort to pressure the Justice Department to back the former president's false claims of election fraud.
In recent hearings, the House January 6 committee has shown footage of Clark and Eastman repeatedly invoking their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination during closed-door depositions before the congressional panel.
A former law professor, Eastman resigned in January 2021 from Chapman University in Southern California amid outcry over his role in Trump's attempt to overturn the election. In the weeks after Trump's defeat, Eastman emerged as the architect of a plan for then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay or outright block the certification of the election results.
Pence's refusal to go along with that scheme fueled some of the violence of January 6, when members of the pro-Trump mob hunted for the then-vice president inside the Capitol and called for him to be hanged.
This is a developing story.