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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has agreed to recuse himself from consideration of a petition involving an ex-lawyer for former President Donald Trump.
The justice “recused himself from considering a petition to undo a lower court ruling that forced former Donald Trump attorney John Eastman to hand over emails related to the Capitol riot to the House Jan. 6 committee,” the Washington Examiner reported.
“The Justices on Monday denied a request to review a trial court order that forced Eastman to forfeit information to the U.S. House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol. A line on the orders list indicated that Thomas ‘took no part’ in considering the petition,” the outlet’s report continued.
Ginni Thomas, the wife of Thomas and a conservative activist, was interviewed by the committee before it disbanded earlier this year. During the interview, she reaffirmed her belief that the 2020 election was stolen—a viewpoint consistently echoed by Trump since his defeat in November of that year.
“The recusal note comes as dozens of Democrats in the House have called on the justice to recuse from a major case to be heard this week involving the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s funding mechanism,” the Examiner noted further.
In June, Stefan Passantino, a lawyer from Washington, D.C. who provided representation for ex-White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson during her testimony before the committee, filed a lawsuit against the panel, accusing it of damaging his professional reputation and causing harm to his career.
Passantino submitted a Federal Tort Claims Act Complaint amounting to $67 million against the congressional panel, alleging that the committee deliberately created and propagated a false narrative about him, intentionally interfered with his attorney-client relationship, and neglected his civil rights to advance a political agenda targeting Trump.
“Liz Cheney and her collaborators on the January 6th Committee decided to peddle a false tale about Mr. Passantino and his relationship with his client without any regard for the truth or whether they were destroying the reputation of a good man; a reputation built over decades,” Passantino’s attorney, Jesse Binnall, said in a statement.
Per the complaint, the committee is accused of engaging in unauthorized communications with Hutchinson, without the knowledge or consent of Passantino, thus violating the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship. The complaint further alleges that these communications contributed to the creation of a “false narrative” that was then propagated to news outlets by a lawmaker or congressional staff member acting “outside of the scope of their legislative function.”
Hutchinson, who worked as an assistant to Mark Meadows during his tenure as Trump’s last White House chief of staff, emerged as the central witness for the Jan. 6 Committee. During her testimony, she alleged that Trump had attempted to commandeer the presidential limousine to drive himself to the election protests, which Trump has vehemently denied.
However, several of her claims, which were based on third-party discussions, were quickly discredited when her sources publicly denied her account of the events, the news outlet reported further.
Shortly before Hutchinson provided her explosive testimony, she made a switch in legal representation. Prior to her appearance at the televised hearing, Passantino, a former deputy counsel for the White House, had been advising her throughout the process, which involved three private depositions before the committee.
According to the complaint, after Hutchinson’s second deposition, she began collaborating with members of the Jan. 6 Committee without Passantino’s awareness.
“The Committee, through a backchannel directly to Mr. Passantino’s client, in total disregard for the attorney-client relationship, convinced Mr. Passantino’s client to sit for additional interviews and give incredible testimony that could then be peddled by national news media friendly to the Committee to damage Mr. Passantino,” the complaint says, according to Newsmax.
That passage appears to be citing articles such as one published by CNN in December under the headline, “Cassidy Hutchinson told the January 6 committee she felt pressure from Trump allies not to talk and instead risk ‘contempt.’”