Trump’s lawyers face professional bills after 2020 election
Trump’s lawyers face professional bills after 2020 election



CNN

The fallout for lawyers who helped Donald Trump in his effort to overturn the 2020 election comes into focus this week as one former Trump lawyer finds out if he could lose his law license and another is in the middle of a disciplinary process.

John Eastman, a conservative law professor, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Trump Justice Department official whom Trump almost tapped as attorney general, are facing major changes in their lawyers’ discipline cases in jurisdictions where they are barred.

The development underscores how even years after the 2020 election, the authorities that regulate lawyers are still closely monitoring the actions of Trump’s lawyers, some of whom could lose their law licenses.

In addition to Eastman and Clark, three other Trump lawyers in 2020 — Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chezebrough and Jenna Ellis — pleaded guilty to criminal charges in Georgia that could jeopardize their law licenses.

Another attorney, Stephanie Lambert, recently spent the night in jail for failing to appear in a case against her in Michigan, while celebrity attorney Rudy Giuliani is bankrupt and disbarred from practicing law.

And Lawrence Joseph, Julia Haller and Brandon Johnson, who worked in battleground states to support Trump and on frivolous court documents alleging election fraud after the last presidential election, now face disciplinary charges against lawyers in Washington, D.C. .

The State Bar of California is expected to rule by Wednesday on Eastman, the architect of the effort to stop Congressional certification of the 2020 results.

Meanwhile, Clark’s ethics trial began Tuesday.

The trial is scheduled to last through the week and will focus on Clark’s attempts to use the Justice Department in late 2020 and early 2021 to bolster the former president’s claims of election fraud.

So far in the trial, Clark’s attorney, Harry McDougald, has emphasized how Clark followed Trump’s lead after the election. McDougald also suggested in his opening statement that Clark believes he has reason to question the results of the election, particularly in Georgia.

But a Justice Department official who preceded Clark, then-Deputy Attorney General Richard Donohue, testified for several hours Tuesday that Clark crossed the line.

Donohue testified that the Justice Department has looked into the allegations of election fraud and has not found a situation where federal authorities should pursue an investigation. However, he recalled, Clark believed that smart thermostats may have interfered with the votes and harbored other suspicions of foreign interference in the election.

Clark’s theories were “simply not supported by the evidence,” Donohue said under oath Tuesday. “I said, ‘Where do you get it? You have not been informed of any investigation.

Clark was later given an intelligence briefing that Donohue and others believed might help Clark understand that there was no widespread fraud in the election. But he wasn’t discouraged, Donohue said, even talking directly to someone who doubted the Georgia election instead of state officials and continuing to ignore what his superiors at the Justice Department told him.

“It was clear that he was kind of conducting an investigation on his own,” Donohue testified under questioning by DC Bar Disciplinary Board member Hamilton Fox. “Nothing… credible or could be confirmed in any way.”

Donohue also testified that DOJ leadership learned that Clark met directly with Trump — an approach outside of the usual way of communication between the White House and the Justice Department — when Trump wanted the department to pursue unsubstantiated fraud theories.

“My first reaction was, and I said it out loud, ‘You violated the White House contact policy,'” Donohue testified. “I was surprised … I said, ‘Don’t break it again.'”

Clark’s trial in D.C. is being held before a three-person disciplinary panel, which will make findings and write a recommendation to a professional responsibility board, which handles professional discipline for those barred from practicing law in the city.

The committee could recommend disbarment, which it already did for Giuliani after a similar trial related to his 2020 campaign actions, which must ultimately be certified by a District of Columbia court.

Eastman’s situation is closer to the end of the line regarding his law license. He already faces a lengthy lawsuit in California over his professional conduct as Trump’s lawyer. A judge there previously found him guilty of violating ethics rules.

A decision by Judge Yvette Roland of the state Bar Disciplinary Court is expected Wednesday.

Eastman will have the opportunity to appeal if Roland decides to disqualify him or otherwise punish him. The California Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether to approve or reject the sentence imposed by Roland.

Separately, Eastman and Clark have been charged with crimes in Georgia on the racketeering conspiracy charge against Trump and more than a dozen others. They plead not guilty.

CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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