Scott Perry Needs To Hand In Thousands Of Phone Records To Special Counsel, Judge Rules

FBI agents seized the Pennsylvania Republican's cell phone in August 2022 as part of a Justice Department investigation into efforts to undo the 2020 vote.

A judge on Tuesday ordered Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) to turn over close to 1,700 records from his personal cell phone to special counsel Jack Smith as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

In a 12-page ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg said only 396 of 2,055 records in question from Perry’s phone were privileged under the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution, requiring Perry to hand in the rest.

“Perry must disclose to the government 1,659 of the 2,055 records still at issue,” Boasberg wrote.

Perry hasn’t decided whether to appeal Boasberg’s ruling, his lawyer told Politico Tuesday.

In August 2022, Perry announced the FBI had seized his personal cell phone while he was on vacation with his family, claiming that none of the information on the device “is the government’s business.” Agents created a forensic copy of the phone’s contents operating under a search warrant before returning it to the Republican congressman.

Perry’s phone was seized before Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith to lead the probe as special counsel.

Perry “used his personal cell phone to send and receive communications that the government believes may be relevant to its investigation into events leading to the January 6 attempted insurrection,” Boasberg writes.

How the judge’s order will affect Smith’s investigation is unclear.

Perry sued to prevent the government from reviewing the seized records, claiming over 2,000 files were privileged.

Boasberg’s predecessor, Judge Beryl Howell, then ordered him to turn over the majority of those files, a decision which Perry appealed.

The D.C. Court of Appeals vacated part of Howell’s decision and ordered Boasberg to apply a document-by-document review of the 2,055 emails Perry claimed were privileged.

Perry is now required to hand over files to the government, including communications regarding the procedures that then-Vice President [Mike] Pence must have followed under the Electoral Count Act and other discussions around alleged election fraud.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot revealed Perry, an ally of former President Donald Trump, sought the promotion of Jeffrey Clark in the Justice Department so he could aid efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Perry later also requested a preemptive pardon from Trump, the panel said. But Perry denies this happened.

Clark has since been indicted in the Fulton County probe into efforts to subvert the 2020 vote in Georgia.

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