Federal Judge Orders Rep. Scott Perry to Turn Over Phone Records for Jan. 6 Investigation
A federal judge in D.C. has ruled that Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) must hand over almost 1,700 records from his phone to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into former President Trump’s alleged interference in the 2020 election. The ruling is part of the ongoing battle between Perry and the DOJ, where Perry had argued that over 2,000 seized communications were privileged under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which grants immunity to sitting Congress members from criminal investigation. After reviewing the documents, the judge ordered Perry to disclose 1,659 of them.
FBI agents had seized Perry’s phone last year as part of the DOJ’s investigation into the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot. Perry, who is the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, had played a role in amplifying Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims leading up to the riot. A federal appeals court directed the chief U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to review the seized communications, leading to the recent ruling.
Perry had initially filed a lawsuit against the DOJ, seeking the return of the phone data, claiming it contained personal information and arguing that “none of this is the government’s business.” However, he later dropped the suit. Perry’s lawyers mentioned a “cooperative spirit” in discussions leading to the voluntary dismissal of the motion for an injunction.
Representatives for Perry have not immediately responded to requests for comment on the ruling.