Hearing to Disbar Trump Ally John Eastman Concludes with Ruling Expected in 3 Months

Attorneys for the State Bar of California made their final argument for the disbarment of former Chapman University law school dean John Eastman Friday.

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They faulted him for sloppy legal research and conspiring to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn President Joe Biden’s election.

Eastman’s attorneys, however, argued that the watchdog’s arguments are “Orwellian” and “chilling” on legal advocacy.

The hearing’s judicial officer, Yvette D. Roland, will issue a ruling within the next 90 days.

State Bar attorney Duncan Carling argued that the evidence in the 35 days of trial from 23 witnesses “clearly and convincingly establishes that John Eastman is culpable of all charges and that his highly aggravated and serious misconduct requires his disbarment.

“Specifically,” he continued, “the evidence shows that respondent conspired with then-President Donald Trump to develop and implement a strategy to obstruct the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, and to illegally disrupt the peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Joseph Biden, knowing that there was no plausible evidence, and no good- faith theory or argument, to lawfully undo or delay the Jan. 6 electoral count.”

Carling noted that by mid-December 2020, courts in the seven key states where challenges were made were “uniformly rejected.” The Trump administration’s Justice and Homeland Security Departments had also refuted Trump’s claims of widespread fraud, Carling added.

The governors in the seven states, including some who were Republicans with legislative majorities, had certified Biden’s election. The Electoral College also had certified the results.

“By the time (Eastman) wrote his Dec. 23 and Jan. 3 memoranda, therefore, he knew that there could be no true dispute about who had won the election,” Carling said.

Still, Eastman pressed Pence to reject the slates of electors in the seven states or send them back to the state legislatures for continued investigation of the debunked fraud claims, Carling said. That move would violate the Electoral Count Act, which has been in place for more than a century, he argued.

He added, “it would effectively make Pence the sole and final super-judge of the lawfulness of state elections – and, indeed, of his own election – contrary to the Framers’ intent, established principles of federalism and separation of powers, and any notion of checks and balances.”

Carling also criticized Eastman’s speech at the Ellipse before mobs of Trump supporters marched over to the Capitol with many rioting and breaking into the building, some seeking to disrupt Congress from certifying Biden’s victory. Eastman continued making the case to Pence’s attorney even as the violence was unfolding, Carling added.

Eastman relied on and “purposely parroted the misguided opinions and narratives of demonstrably unqualified, unvetted and unreliable ‘experts,’ ” Carling said.

Carling pointed out that even Eastman’s own expert, John Yoo, acknowledged in testimony that Biden won “fair and square.” Carling added that Yoo himself capitulated when then-U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr declared there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the election.

Eastman’s “misconduct, accompanied by his blatant indifference, which persists to date, is so outrageous and exceptional, there is no case law directly on point,” Carling said, adding it is worse even than the conduct of Donald Segretti, known for his tricks in the 1970s Watergate scandal.

Segretti at least was only 30 at the time and was not acting as an attorney and ultimately recognized how wrong he was and “expressed regret and cooperated with the investigating agencies,” Carling said.

Eastman’s “misconduct is much more egregious and has a direct correlation to the Jan. 6 riot, which caused serious physical harm,” Carling said.

Eastman’s attorney, Randall Miller, however argued at a State Bar Court courtroom in downtown Los Angeles that his client should not be found culpable and should face no discipline or sanctions.

Miller said that as the courts were not providing any sort of relief for Eastman’s client he turned to “other potential remedies not foreclosed by clearly established precedent.”

The attorney added that it was still an “open question” whether the vice president has the authority to delay or halt the certification of the electors. He said Eastman engaged in a “good-faith interpretation of the historical record” that was “not foreclosed by precedent …”

He added that “every lawyer is ethically and by oath obligated to pursue a matter on behalf of a client despite opposition, obstruction or personal inconvenience to the lawyer, and take whatever lawful and ethical measures are required to vindicate a client’s cause or endeavor. And with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and with zeal in advocacy upon the client’s behalf.

“That principle, the law for 225 years,” he argued “teeters under the weight of this Bar proceeding.”

Miller argued that his client has First Amendment protection when he alleged fraud in the election. Miller also discounted the public claims from Barr and others regarding the integrity of the election.

“The premise of the State Bar’s charges against Dr. Eastman, which rests on these and other similar statements, has an Orwellian cast to it: the government has spoken, and if you disagree, then you must be lying,” Miller said. “Two plus two equals five, after all, and if the government says so, you must not only repeat the lie, but you must come to believe it as well.

Click here to read the full article in Times of San Diego


  1. Jay L. Stern says

    John Eastman is a constitutional scholar. He understands the US Constitution and any derivative laws better than virtually anyone. It is understood that the Vice President as the President of the Senate has ministral duty as regards counting of electrol votes. “Ministal” is defined as:
    : of, relating to, or characteristic of a minister or the ministry
    : being or having the characteristics of an act or duty prescribed by law as part of the duties of an administrative office
    : relating to or being an act done after ascertaining the existence of a specified state of facts in obedience to a legal order without exercise of personal judgment or discretion
    : acting or active as an agent

    Obviously, definitions 2a and 2b apply to the duties of the President of the Senate as regards the electoral college. And what does the law say?

    It says, “…Congress meets in joint session in the House of Representatives on January 6 to count the electoral votes. The Vice President, as President of the Senate, is the presiding officer, whose powers are limited by Federal statute to performing ministerial duties. The President of the Senate opens the votes of the States in alphabetical order, and hands them to the appointed Tellers, who announce the results out loud. The President of the Senate then calls for any objections.

    To be recognized, an objection must:

    be submitted in writing
    be signed by at least one-fifth of the House and one-fifth of the Senate
    state clearly and concisely, without argument, one of two acceptable grounds for objection; that:
    a. the electors of the State were not lawfully certified under a Certificate of Ascertainment, or
    b. the vote of one or more electors has not been regularly given.
    If an objection is recognized, the House and Senate withdraw to their respective chambers to consider the merits of any objections, following the process set out in 3 U.S.C. §§ 15 and 17. After all the votes are recorded and counted, the President of the Senate declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.”

    That is the law, the description of the protocol, and a statement of the VP’s duties as President of the Senate. VP Pence acting as administrator had the responsibility to determine if objections to the electoral process existed, and if the constitutional procedure for determining if electors were qualified had been followed. He did not do these things. He failed in his duty. If that is obvious to a layman such as myself, wouldn’t a constitutional scholar such as Dr. John Eastman have been acutely aware?

    What is clear to me is that the government and much of our society has been undermined by socialists or — telling it as it is — communists. They fear John Eastman and seek to destroy him to prevent his providing constitutional education, advice and instruction to President Trump. These people care nothing about a free society, but are all in for control for themselves. If Dr. Eastman is disbarred, it is a true travesty of justice. And should that come to pass, it cannot be allowed to stand. In such case, the perpetrators the injustice must, themselves, be held to account.

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