- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2022

Rep. Scott Perry wants to block the Justice Department from looking at the contents of a phone it seized from him on Aug. 9, presumably as part of a probe into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to contest the results of the last presidential election.

Investigators have focused on Mr. Perry, Pennsylvania Republican, as a key figure in efforts to install Jeffrey Clark, a Trump ally, at the top of the Justice Department.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Mr. Perry suggests investigators have not pored over the phone’s contents yet and are obtaining another warrant to guide what they can and cannot look at.

“Agents should not be given carte blanche to root around in Rep. Perry’s phone data looking for evidence that they hope might further their investigation,” Mr. Perry’s attorneys wrote in the 16-page suit.

The congressman says data from his phone is protected by the speech and debate clause of the Constitution that would shield him, as a member of Congress, from legal action. He also cites attorney-client and marital privileges for keeping some of the contents private.

The suit says allowing agents to skirt the speech and debate clause would do “irreparable harm” to the protections and give agents access to legislative communications they are not entitled to see.

The lawsuit says agents seized Mr. Perry’s phone while he was vacationing with his family in New Jersey. The agents took a “forensic image” of its contents and returned the physical device to Mr. Perry.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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