Court orders re-evaluation of special counsel’s access to Rep. Scott Perry’s phone – Pennsylvania Capital-Star

A federal appeals court on Tuesday told a lower court to re-evaluate its ruling that gave Justice Department officials access to most of the data on U.S. Rep. Scott Perry’s cell phone in their investigation of the attempt to overturn the 2020 election. 

Perry, R-10th District, asked the court to reverse a lower court’s decision granting special prosecutor Jack Smith’s team access to most of the files on the phone, which the FBI seized in August 2022. 

The three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia instead sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell for further litigation over Perry’s claims that his communications are privileged.

In an order posted in the case docket Tuesday, the appeals court instructed Howell to “apply the correct standard” to Perry’s communications with people outside the federal government, members of the executive branch, and other members of Congress before its vote to certify the 2020 election. The order also affirmed part of the lower court’s ruling on some privileged communications between Perry and members of Congress.

An accompanying opinion by Circuit Judge Neomi Rao was not made public, so the panel’s reasoning and the correct standard the order refers to remain unclear. In addition to Rao, the panel included Circuit Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson and Gregory Katsas.

The U.S. House Jan. 6 committee that investigated the Capitol insurrection subpoenaed Perry in 2021, citing his involvement in attempts to appoint Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general. In its final report, the J6 Committee found Perry had tried to help Trump overturn the election results. 

On Aug. 1, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted Trump on four counts related to his efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election.

Perry has not been indicted.

Clark, a former Justice Department official, played a role in Trump’s false claims that voter fraud in swing states, specifically Georgia, contributed to his loss against now-President Joe Biden.

Perry refused to testify before the Jan. 6 committee but he was the focus of a hearing in June 2022 that centered on efforts to pressure the Justice Department to support unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.

The panel cited messages to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Dec. 26, 2020 noting that there were only 11 days until Congress was to certify the results and urging him to call Clark.

It also noted that a White House visitor log showed Perry brought Clark to meet with Trump on Dec. 22, the day after Republicans, including Perry, met with the former president to discuss how to overturn the election. 

Perry said in a January 2021 statement that he had worked with Clark, an assistant attorney general, on legislative matters throughout the Trump administration. “When President Trump asked if I would make an introduction, I obliged.”

Perry’s spokesperson did not reply to an emailed request for comment.

Originally published at,by Peter Hall

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