WASHINGTON — An attorney representing Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, a conservative activist and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is pushing back against a request from the House Jan. 6 committee for her testimony.
In an eight-page letter to the committee, obtained Wednesday by NBC News, Ginni Thomas' lawyer, Mark R. Paoletta, argued that he has not seen any reason for her to testify and asked the panel to provide a “better justification” for his client’s testimony.
"Mrs. Thomas is eager to clear her name and is willing to appear before the Committee to do so," he wrote in the letter, dated Tuesday. "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. Before I can recommend that she meet with you, I am asking the Committee to provide a better justification for why Mrs. Thomas’s testimony is relevant to the Committee’s legislative purpose."
Paoletta said emails between Thomas and John Eastman, the former Trump lawyer who wrote memos arguing then-Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 election, which Eastman shared with the committee, provide “no basis” to interview Thomas.
Paoletta also defended text messages to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after the 2020 presidential election in which Thomas expressed concerns about the results.
"Mrs. Thomas never claimed to have first-hand knowledge about election fraud," he said. "Rather, she stated that she was just passing along information that she had heard from others. She also expressly condemned those who attacked the Capitol on January 6, asked some questions, and expressed general frustrations."
Thomas, he continued, "expressed concern about the future of our country under President Biden’s leadership. But none of it was unethical, much less illegal, and none of it suggests that Mrs. Thomas had even the slightest role in the January 6th attack on the Capitol, or even has any information about the attack."
Paoletta added that Thomas sent the texts to Meadows as a private citizen and not on behalf of a person or organization. He said she was "simply texting with a friend."
He also said he doubted that the committee would treat his client fairly, citing "some animus" he claimed Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has toward her husband.
NBC News reported in March that the committee had obtained text messages in which Meadows and Thomas discussed how to keep Trump in office after the 2020 election.
Their exchanges came as Trump allies were discussing a legal challenge to the results of the 2020 election. The Supreme Court, in an unsigned opinion in December 2020, dismissed a challenge from Republican state attorneys general to overturn the results.