Clarence Thomas recuses as Supreme Court rejects appeal by Trump lawyer John Eastman

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas during the formal group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022.

Eric Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday refused to take an appeal by former Trump lawyer John Eastman related to emails of his turned over to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Justice Clarence Thomas was not involved in considering or deciding Eastman’s request that the Supreme Court toss lower court rulings related to the emails, the court said in declining to hear the case.

Thomas’ recusal, which was not explained, is the first time he has removed himself from a case involving the Jan. 6 insurrection by a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump.

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Eastman is a former law clerk for Thomas, and some of the emails given to the committee by his former employer Chapman University were between Eastman and Thomas’ wife, Ginni.

Thomas is under heightened scrutiny over his financial ties to a conservative billionaire, Harlan Crow, which Thomas failed to disclose for years.

His wife played a role in the shadow legal campaign to keep Trump in power after his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

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