Judge recommends ex-Trump campaign lawyer John Eastman be disbarred
Judge recommends ex-Trump campaign lawyer John Eastman be disbarred


A California disciplinary judge has recommended that former Trump campaign lawyer John Eastman be disbarred, according to an opinion released Wednesday.

Eastman will lose his ability to practice law within days as the court’s decision forcibly revokes his license, according to the opinion.

Judge Yvette Roland’s opinion comes after a lengthy lawsuit over Eastman’s actions while he led some of Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge his 2020 election loss. The opinion serves as a recommendation to the California Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide whether to approve or reject the punishment. Eastman will have the opportunity to appeal Roland’s decision.

Still, the judge’s opinion marks an important step toward consequences for lawyers who pushed false theories of election fraud on Trump’s behalf.

“Eastman failed his fundamental duty of honesty and breached his ethical obligations by presenting falsehoods to support his legal arguments,” Roland wrote.

“In short, Eastman was grossly negligent by making false statements about the 2020 election without conducting any meaningful investigation or verification of the information he relied on,” she wrote.

The judge also rejected Eastman’s efforts to argue that he believed the lies about election fraud to be true, writing that “Eastman cannot escape blame through his willful blindness — a willful blindness that amounts to Eastman’s actual knowledge that the allegations about secret ballots are false.”

Decisions like the one by the California judge could further erode the credibility of lawyers who have rallied around Trump since the election, while removing them from circles where some, like Eastman — who has spent his career as a law professor and frequent author of Supreme Court amicus briefs—have functioned as conservative thought leaders.

Eastman’s attorney, Randy Miller, said in a statement Wednesday that Eastman maintained that he properly handled legal matters after the 2020 election for his then-client Trump.

Miller also attacked the Bar Association’s immediate suspension of Eastman’s law license as unfair because he cannot practice law at a time when he needs funds to fight criminal charges in Georgia, which are also related to his campaign work for Trump in 2020.

“Any reasonable person can see the inherent injustice of denying a defendant who is presumed innocent from being able to earn the funds necessary to pay the enormous expenses required to defend him in the profession in which he has long been licensed. This is not justice and serves no legitimate purpose to protect the public,” the statement said.

Eastman was accused by the State Bar of California of harming the country by conspiring with Trump to disrupt the transfer of power while knowing there was no valid legal theory to block Congressional certification of Joe’s election victory Biden in 2020, according to disciplinary records.

Roland found that Eastman knew that his plan for then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn Biden’s victory while he presided over the Electoral College certification was “not legitimate” and that his two-page memo outlining the plan was “intended to ensure legal support and convince Vice President Pence to implement this strategy.

READ: Trump’s lawyer’s full memo on Pence’s plan to overturn the election

The state bar used nearly two dozen witnesses and more than 400 pieces of evidence to recreate at trial how Eastman misled others: writing memos about Trump suggesting the introduction of fake voters to Congress, arguing with Pence about rejecting votes and making false statements in court and in a speech to Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.

Roland’s comprehensive 128-page opinion also includes a comprehensive debunking of problematic voting allegations that Eastman included in court filings against Trump in the days after the election. These cases were rejected by all courts at the time, although few judges delved into them as thoroughly as Roland did in the new opinion.

The judge noted that Eastman’s lack of remorse contributed to her decision that he lose his ability to practice law. Roland also said Eastman should be fined $10,000 as part of his sanctions.

However, the judge said that although Eastman had made false and misleading statements to the crowd at the Ellipse, there was “no evidence to show that Eastman’s statements contributed to the attack on the Capitol.”

The United States Center for Democracy, a group that filed a complaint with the California State Bar against Eastman, called the judge’s ruling “a major accountability milestone” and noted that disbarment is among the most severe penalties that can be imposed. to face a lawyer.

Eastman testified in his defense at the disciplinary hearing that he was not trying to provoke violence.

The Justice Department later took an interest and requested transcripts of the attorney’s proceedings, according to the minutes of the proceeding.

Eastman’s revelations at the bar are separate from the criminal charges he faces in Georgia, where he is accused of participating in a 2020 election racketeering conspiracy led by Trump. He pleaded not guilty in that case.

Disbarment in California will be upheld by other state bar associations across the country.

California isn’t the only state keeping a close eye on Trump’s lawyers for the 2020 election. Several jurisdictions that regulate the legal profession have brought disciplinary charges against other lawyers who worked on Trump’s behalf, including Jeffrey Clarke and Rudy Giuliani. Each man faced serious disciplinary trials — with first-hand witnesses testifying to Trump’s actions and the legal efforts surrounding him long before criminal trials revisited the same events in more closely watched courts.​​

Clark, who served in Trump’s Justice Department, is currently on trial in disciplinary proceedings in Washington, D.C., this week, with his former Justice Department superiors testifying against him.

Giuliani’s law license is currently suspended and the Washington Bar Association is considering a recommendation that his license be permanently revoked.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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