A federal judge has allowed the special counsel investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election access to about 1,700 messages from the seized phone of Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Perry, the chairman of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus who played a role in attempts to overturn the election, had sought to keep the messages from prosecutors. But in an order late Tuesday, James E. Boasberg, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in Washington, prohibited federal prosecutors from retrieving just 396 messages from more than 2,000.
Judge Boasberg wrote that those messages were covered by the Constitution’s speech or debate clause, which provides protections for lawmakers’ legislative discussions, while also ordering that a majority be turned over.
The messages could offer additional evidence for Jack Smith, the special counsel leading the federal election case against Mr. Trump. Judge Boasberg said they concerned Mr. Perry’s attempts to get information about possible voter fraud; influence people outside the federal government; discuss Vice President Mike Pence’s certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory; and communicate about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
A lawyer for Mr. Perry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As federal officials investigated the effort to overturn the 2020 election, the F.B.I. seized Mr. Perry’s personal cellphone in the summer of 2022 and created a forensic copy of its contents. The F.B.I. later returned the phone and told Mr. Perry he was not the target of the investigation, his lawyer said at the time.
“The Justice Department informed us that Representative Perry is not a target of its investigation,” the lawyer, John Irving, said in a statement. “Representative Perry has directed us to cooperate with the Justice Department in order to ensure that it gets the information it is entitled to, but to also protect information that it is not entitled to.”
Mr. Perry then filed a motion to prohibit investigators from getting the messages, arguing that they were protected under the Constitution. He lost that motion, but an appellate court ordered a judge to review the communications on a document-by-document basis.
In the weeks after the 2020 election, Mr. Perry was among at least 11 Republican members of Congress involved in discussions with Trump administration officials about overturning the results, according to the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack. Those included plans to pressure Mr. Pence to throw out electoral votes from states won by Mr. Biden. Mr. Perry also endorsed the idea of encouraging supporters to march to the Capitol, the committee said.
He played an active role in the attempt to replace Jeffrey A. Rosen, then the acting attorney general, with a more compliant official, Jeffrey Clark.