Republican Representative Scott Perry from Pennsylvania must turn over emails and texts he sent back in 2020 to FBI agents who are investigating his role in trying to make sure that former President Donald Trump remained in the White House following the 2020 presidential election.
The ruling, handed down by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Monday, will require Perry to turn over the more than 1,600 communications. The decision also falls in line with a previous ruling from a federal judge that Perry appealed to the appellate division.
In his ruling, Boasberg wrote that Perry has the right to withhold 396 of those messages that he sent. His ruling was based on the speech and debate clause contained in the Constitution that protects work of Congress members.
The remaining 1,659 communications that don’t involve any legislative acts have to be disclosed, the judge ruled. Those communications allegedly were sent to influence executive branch members, provided information about the alleged election fraud that took place, and discussed the role that then-Vice President Mike Pence had in certifying the Electoral College vote.
Attorney John Rowley, who is representing Perry in the case, didn’t respond immediately to Fox News’ questions about whether an appeal would be planned.
Perry chairs the Freedom Caucus in Congress, and is considered one of the leaders of the hardline conservatives in Washington. He hasn’t been formally charged with a crime in the election subversion case against Trump.
Yet, he’s also the only person who’s still serving in Congress who had their cellphone seized by the FBI as part of its election investigation.
Perry has been working hard behind the scenes to protect what’s on his cellphone, Fox News reported. Only in recent weeks have small snippets and summaries of the emails and texts he sent been unsealed inadvertently. Once that happened, though, the federal court quickly resealed them.
The messages could show what Perry’s place was in terms of the loyalists to Trump, who have been alleged to be central to the former president’s efforts to keep power in Washington.
Federal prosecutors have honed in on Perry during their investigation, specifically about how he tried to elevate Jeffrey Clark to serve as the acting attorney general of the U.S. as 2020 came to a close.
In the past, Perry has said he only “obliged” a request from Trump that he introduce him to Clark. Around that time, the former president was searching for someone who shared a mindset with him who could head the Department of Justice, so that they could together stall the final certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
Fox News reports, though, that Perry’s messages suggest he was more of a key ally of Clark’s, who was positioning himself as a person who could reverse the stance of the DOJ that it didn’t find any evidence of widespread election fraud.
Ultimately, prosecutors say Trump backed down from having Clark send letters to various states, but only after he was informed that mass resignations would take place not just at the DOJ, but in the White House counsel’s office as well.