Bill Hynes, charged in burglary case, returns to court Tuesday

Rep. Scott Perry sues U.S. Department of Justice over phone seizure

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice, requesting the return of his cellphone data and any other property obtained during an FBI seizure earlier this month.

"Make no mistake, the seizure of my personal phone has nothing to do with Jan. 6, 2021, and everything to do with Nov. 8, 2022," Perry said Wednesday, through a campaign spokesman.

The lawsuit, first reported by Axios, was filed Aug. 18 by attorneys for the York County Republican. It also asks the court to block the government from searching his phone.

During a separate interview with The York Dispatch on Tuesday, Perry said he hadn't heard from the FBI since agents seized his phone.

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., speaks during a news conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus outside the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

The FBI seized Perry's personal cellphone Aug. 9, one day after agents raided former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. Perry subsequently said that his attorneys were told by the Justice Department that he is "not a target of its investigation." 

On Tuesday, Perry also repeated his denial that he had sought a presidential pardon or that someone had sought a pardon on his behalf, an allegation he faced during a hearing of the Jan. 6 House Select Committee investigating the events surrounding the riot at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.

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Perry has been cast by the Jan. 6 House Select Committee as a key player in pushing false election narratives and the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

That same day, Perry voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

Perry has refused to cooperate with a subpoena by House investigators. 

Hearings held by that committee noted Perry's actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, including various communications with then-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and an endorsement of Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.

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In a phone call recounted in a Senate Judiciary Committee majority report on efforts to subvert the 2020 elections, a witness recalled that Perry mentioned Clark as someone "who could really get in there and do something about this."

Trump reportedly considered firing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and replacing him with Clark, who had presented himself as eager to aid Trump's efforts in challenging the election results.

Jeffrey Bossert Clark, nominee to be an assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, looks on during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing concerning judicial nominations, on Capitol Hill, June 28, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

Perry also reportedly forwarded a conspiracy theory to Meadows alleging that an Italian defense contractor had uploaded software to a satellite in order to switch votes from Trump to Joe Biden. Justice Department officials called that theory "patently absurd." 

In comments made Tuesday after an event in Harrisburg, Perry made it clear that he still has concerns over the 2020 election.

"I think that many people in our community have concerns about their confidence in the election and the integrity of our elections, and rightly so," Perry said. "On their behalf, as their representative, their questions need to be answered."

There is no such evidence of widespread voter fraud.

In July, former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, told The Associated Press that, despite FBI agents following up on various complaints, they “have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Attorney General William Barr testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing in the Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on July 28, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Barr's Department of Justice reportedly obtained telephone and email records of several Washington Post reporters. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

The lawsuit is before Judge Jia Cobb, a Biden appointee.

Neither of Perry's attorneys, John Irving and John Rowley, responded to requests for comment. Nor did the Justice Department.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright. 

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