A lawyer for Virginia Thomas, the longtime conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has told the Jan. 6 select committee that he has “serious concerns” about any interview the panel would conduct with her.
The letter throws cold water on the prospect of a voluntary interview between Thomas and the committee, which investigators are seeking.
“I would also note that this has been a particularly stressful time as the Thomases have been subjected to an avalanche of death threats and other abuse by the unprecedented assault on the conservative Supreme Court Justices and their families,” attorney Mark Paoletta said in an 8-page letter to the panel dated Tuesday and obtained by POLITICO.
Paoletta also wrote that he needs a better justification of the committee’s legislative aims before recommending Thomas, who is known as Ginni, speak to its investigators.
“As she has already indicated, Mrs. Thomas is eager to clear her name and is willing to appear before the Committee to do so,” he wrote. “However, based on my understanding of the communications that spurred the Committee’s request, I do not understand the need to speak with Mrs. Thomas.”
Paoletta noted that the committee is seeking Thomas’ testimony in part because she invited John Eastman — a key player in then-President Donald Trump’s post-election legal efforts — to speak to a group of activists.
But, Paoletta added, such an invite was less significant than has been suggested.
“An invitation from Mrs. Thomas is an invitation to speak, and nothing more,” he wrote. “It is not an endorsement of the speaker’s views, nor is it any indication of a working relationship between the speaker and Mrs. Thomas. In fact, Mrs. Thomas often does not share the views of those invited leaders or activists.”
Paoletta also categorically denied that Thomas and Eastman discussed litigation strategy related to the Supreme Court. And he said Thomas’s post-election texts with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were “entirely unremarkable.”
“She was simply texting with a friend,” he added.
Paoletta also noted criticisms of electoral processes made by a host of Democrats in prior election cycles, including a comment from Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) in 2016. And Paoletta highlighted disparaging comments that the committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), has made about Justice Thomas — including, in 2014, that he “doesn’t like Black people, doesn’t like being Black.”
A spokesperson for the select panel declined to comment. Thomas did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment about her lawyer’s letter.
Congressional investigators sent Thomas a letter last week requesting her testimony, citing evidence she had exchanged emails with Eastman, an architect of the legal strategy underpinning Trump’s attempt to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election.
Thomas emerged as a piece of the select panel’s investigation in March, when the Washington Post and CBS published text messages from her to Meadows in which Thomas pushed the then-chief of staff to fight harder to contest the election results and appeared to pass along conspiracy theories about the election.
Eastman has denied discussing matters before the Supreme Court with Thomas or her husband, and has released one of his emails with Ginni Thomas about an invitation to on election litigation with a group called the “Frontliners.”
The Daily Caller reported earlier on the Paoletta letter.