The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dealt a significant blow to special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
They ruled that Smith cannot access Rep. Scott Perry’s (R-Pa.) phone records due to the potential violation of the GOP lawmaker’s immunity under the Constitution’s ‘speech and debate’ clause.
Smith was seeking Perry’s communications with colleagues and Executive Branch officials, but the clause safeguards members of Congress from legal proceedings while performing their elected official duties.
U.S. District Judge Neomi Rao stated, ‘a member’s deliberation about federal election procedures or whether to certify a presidential election are textbook legislative acts.’
This decision by the appeals court is significant since it is the first time that lawmakers’ cellphones are being granted the same protections as their physical offices. Politico reported that it represents a major legal setback for Smith in his pursuit of evidence regarding alleged involvement by Donald Trump’s allies in overturning the 2020 election results.
The three-judge panel consisted of Trump appointees Judge Neomi Rao and Judge Gregory Katsas, alongside Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.
The ruling overturned a decision by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who had mainly supported the government’s request to access Perry’s cellphone data. The case has now been sent back to Howell’s court, with instructions to apply the new ruling to any future decision.
In other news, during a recent segment on “The Five” hosted by Fox News, Jesse Watters heavily criticized Jack Smith for indicting former President Donald Trump in two separate cases.
Watters referred to Smith as a ‘nervous wreck’ and highlighted the special counsel’s legal history before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Smith had recently unsealed Trump’s grand jury indictment, which included charges such as willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements.
Earlier, Smith had secured a 37-count indictment against Trump in a speedy investigation related to allegations involving classified documents. The superseding indictment also brought charges against Carlos De Oliveira, a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate owned by the former president.
“That was Special Counsel Jack Smith, who looked like a bedraggled nervous wreck, dripping with anger and highly emotional,” Watters commented, referring to a press conference where Smith announced the new charges.
Watters reminded viewers of a previous case involving then-Republican Gov. Bob McDowell of Virginia, prosecuted by Smith, which the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed.
Watters criticized the Biden Justice Department for using obscure federal statutes to potentially imprison a former president.
“These charges are not bribery, not assault, not tax evasion, not sex trafficking. They’re charging Donald Trump under the Act of 1866,” Watters explained. “It was used against the [Ku Klux] Klan, and now they are using it against Trump.” Trump, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, has likened the indictments to election interference.