Judge says ex-Trump attorney, Chapman Law dean John Eastman should be disbarred in California

Column: The lawyer who advised the former president in his fight to overturn the 2020 election cannot practice during his appeal

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When he spread wild untruths about the 2020 election and tried to stretch the law like Silly Putty to keep Donald Trump in power, John Eastman betrayed the fundamental oaths he swore to uphold as a licensed attorney — and thus must lose that license, a State Bar judge ruled Wednesday, March 27.

“Despite the depth, breadth, and complexity of the case law and historical context cited by the parties, this disciplinary proceeding boils down to an analysis of whether or not Eastman, in his role as the attorney for then-President Donald Trump … and his re-election campaign, acted dishonestly,” State Bar Judge Yvette Roland said.

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He did, she said. “It is recommended that John Charles Eastman, State Bar Number 193726, be disbarred from the practice of law in California and that his name be stricken from the roll of attorneys.”

Eastman, the former dean of Chapman University’s law school who also was hit with $10,000 in sanctions and ordered to cover the Bar prosecution’s costs, called the decision “a travesty of justice.” He vowed to appeal and has characterized those seeking to discipline him as evil.

“Dr. Eastman maintains that his handling of the legal issues he was asked to assess after the November 2020 election was based on reliable legal precedent, prior presidential elections, research of constitutional text, and extensive scholarly material,” his attorney, Randall Miller, said in a statement.

“The process undertaken by Dr. Eastman in 2020 is the same process taken by lawyers every day and everywhere – indeed, that is the essence of what lawyers do. They are ethically bound to be zealous advocates for their clients – a duty Dr. Eastman holds inviolate. To the extent today’s decision curtails that principle, we are confident the Review Court will swiftly provide a remedy.”

The decision could be crippling to his livelihood – and potent fodder for fundraising. Eastman cannot practice law in California during the appeal, which strangles an income stream as he fights criminal charges in Georgia over 2020 election interference and potential disbarment in Washington D.C. It will cost more than $3 million to defend himself, he has said in fundraising pitches, but he has only raised shy of $640,000 in donations on the Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo.

“I feel a little like Julius Caesar,” Eastman said in a recent lecture to the Salt and Light Council, which promotes “Biblical citizenship.” “The folks we’re dealing with are evil. They don’t consider destroying our country as collateral damage for their overall mission. They consider that icing on the cake for their overall mission. I mean, we have to understand that we are dealing with pure evil, and … you got to arm yourselves in truth and light, salt and light.”

Overthrowing democracy?

In what has become known as the “coup memos,” Eastman argued that the Electoral Count Act was unconstitutional and the vice president had the authority to reject states’ official electoral votes and even declare Donald Trump, who lost the election, its winner. Trump seized on these ideas and did not let go.

On stage Jan. 6, Eastman alleged that dead people voted, that blank ballots were hidden in a “secret folder” inside voting machines and that the election had been stolen. As rioters stormed the Capitol, Vice President Mike Pence’s rattled attorney told Eastman that “the advice provided has, whether intended to or not, functioned as a serpent in the ear of the President of the United States, the most powerful office in the entire world…. Thanks to your (expletive), we are now under siege.”

Eastman was charged with 11 counts by the California State Bar prosecutor’s office, one of which was dismissed, the most colorful of which are “dishonesty and moral turpitude.” He’s accused of prodding state electors to send fake electoral votes for Trump to the Capitol, of filing false information with courts, of spreading incendiary lies that fed the rage that consumed the Capitol.

Eastman has wrapped himself in the First Amendment, saying his utterings are a matter of protected free speech.

Eastman’s defenders argue he was simply doing his job, zealously advocating for his client with the legal equivalent of “everything but the kitchen sink.” He has decried the charges as Orwellian “lawfare” waged by radical left-wingers seeking to destroy the fabric of America. “(T)he government has spoken, and if you disagree, then you must be lying. 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,” his lawyers told the judge in closing arguments.

The judge didn’t buy that. “While attorneys have a duty to advocate zealously for their clients, they must do so within the bounds of ethical and legal constraints,” she wrote. “Eastman’s actions transgressed those ethical limits by advocating, participating in and pursuing a strategy to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election that lacked evidentiary or legal support. Vigorous advocacy does not absolve Eastman of his professional responsibilities around honesty and upholding the rule of law.”

In a recent post on GiveSendGo, Eastman described the Bar proceedings as shot through with “mendacity.” He blasted Bar prosecutors for assigning a court opinion to a circuit court rather than a district court. He quarreled with the accuracy of a legal quotation. “Perhaps they should file notice of disciplinary charges against themselves!” he wrote. “Alas, don’t hold your breath for such a just result…. win or lose, we anticipate more proceedings on appeal, adding to what one commentator has already called the longest and most expensive bar disciplinary proceeding in history.

“Thankfully, people are starting to wake up to the dangers of this ‘lawfare,’ not just to me personally but to our adversarial system of justice more broadly,” he wrote. “If you can, please consider making an additional contribution to my legal defense fund to help me keep fighting these travesties of justice. And as always, keep us, and our great country, in your prayers.”

Strong reaction

The state Bar was pleased with the outcome.

“Every California attorney has the duty to uphold the constitution and the rule of law,” Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona said in a prepared statement. “Mr. Eastman repeatedly violated that duty. Worse, he did so in a way that threatened the fundamental principles of our democracy.

“The substantial evidence presented over 35 days of trial showed, and the court has now held, that Mr. Eastman abandoned his ethical and legal duties as an attorney to conspire with then-President Donald Trump to develop and implement a strategy to obstruct the counting of electoral votes on January 6, 2021, and illegally disrupt the peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Joseph Biden, knowing that there was no good faith theory or argument to lawfully reject the electoral votes of any state or delay the January 6 electoral count. Mr. Eastman’s efforts failed only because our democratic institutions and those committed to upholding them held strong. The harm caused by Mr. Eastman’s abandonment of his duties as a lawyer, and the threat his actions posed to our democracy, more than warrant his disbarment.”

Laguna Niguel attorney James V. Lacy has known Eastman for years and followed the proceedings closely.

“This is a sad and wholly avoidable negative milestone in Eastman’s legal career,” Lacy said. “He could have avoided ‘being the snake in Trump’s ear’ by simply coming to the same, sane, legal conclusion as his own star witness John Yoo did during the trial, that the Vice President just does not have the power to overthrow an election.

“He also could have avoided this outcome and all the effort and expense, and building of a factual record that will now be used against him in his Georgia criminal trial, by simply resigning his bar membership in the very beginning, as this result of the process was predictable over a year ago.

“I do pity John and hope for his sake he fares better in the other upcoming actions against him.”

The States United Democracy Center filed an early ethics complaint against Eastman with the State Bar. “This is a crucial victory in the effort to hold accountable those who tried to overturn the 2020 election,” said Christine P. Sun, a senior vice president, in a prepared statement. “This decision sends an unmistakable message: No one is above the law—not presidents, and not their lawyers.”

Miller, Eastman’s attorney, disagrees. Eastman faces “serious and complex criminal charges in an unprecedented criminal RICO action in Fulton County, Georgia, where one of his co-defendants is the former President of the United States and presumptive Republican nominee for re-election to that office. He has not been convicted of any crime and in the eyes of the law he is presumed innocent.

“Dr. Eastman remains adamant that in his case, that presumption is absolutely correct,” Miller said. “Any reasonable person can see the inherent unfairness of prohibiting a presumed-innocent defendant from being able to earn the funds needed to pay for the enormous expenses required to defend himself, in the profession in which he has long been licensed. That is not justice and serves no legitimate purpose to protect the public.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Comments

  1. Robin Itzler - Patriot Neighbors says

    Once radical socialist Democrats are done going after Donald Trump and anyone connected with him, they will move along to anyone who doesn’t walk lockstep with their radical socialist agenda.

    Where are YOU on their list?

  2. Judge Yvette Roland seems to be all-in with lawfare persecution.

    If you support Trump, in any way whatsoever, you will be given an appointment with a firing squad.

    You MUST comply!

  3. Donald J. says

    Seems I read somewhere that something very similar like the present state of affairs in our Country happened in a Country called Germany in the 20’s and 30″s. I believe his name was Adolph something or other…Could it be history is repeating itself?

    • Treva Bennett says

      You’re 💯 percent right. I didn’t just read it. I lived it! Eastman is an honest honorable knowledgeable attorney that could use support. I hold him in high esteem. He well knows Constitutional law. He would never knowingly advise anyone to break the law. His life’s work will attest to his respect of that fact. If more attorneys had the integrity Eastman has they would be respected.

  4. JLSeagull says

    “Judge” Roand is burnishing her street creds for appointment to the state Supreme Court – in Moscow.

  5. We ALL know that DEMONS stole the 2020 election. They tried to steal the election in 2016 but didn’t go far enough. Why do you think Hillary to this day can not accept that she didn’t win in 2016? The Demons told her she was elected because they were going to cheat. They learned from the 2016 election and went out all the way in 2020. I’m afraid the 2024 election is not secured either. the Republicans, instead of fighting amongst themselves, grow some balls and work to establish an honest election. But I don’t expect much from them. They are all part of the SWAMP.

    That’s why I am not registered Republican and I will never donate to the party. I donate directly to the candidates I support. Donate directly to President Trump, Save America PAC

  6. Christine P. Sun is a card carrying member of the ACLU and an acolyte of Javier Bacerra, former CA AG. That is just about all you need to know. She and her associates all clamor about “our democracy.” We don’t have a democracy. This is a Republic. The difference is significant.

  7. I keep on talking about Eastman, trying to overthrow the 2020 election, but that’s not what all of this is about. Eastman was very instrumental in correctly assessing that Kamala Harris was not eligible to become vice president (or President) of the United States and he voiced that at least a year before the election, even before she was announced as Biden’s vice president candidate. This case was totally different from John McCain, who I despised , being born in the Panama Canal zone as his father was working down there. As a constitutional expert, Eastman knew better, but Unfortunately, those in power did not want to hear that. He has been blackballed ever since.

  8. George Miller says

    This is a major miscarriage of justice

    1. There is major evidence of 2020 election fraud:

    https://www.citizensjournal.us/election-2020-the-empire-strikes-back

    https://www.citizensjournal.us/anatomy-of-an-election-steal/

    https://www.citizensjournal.us/election-fraud-hearings-held-in-pa-az-mi

    https://www.citizensjournal.us/not-a-shred-of-evidence-of-election-fraud

    2. He acted in good faith. Providing an alternate set of electors is not a crime. It has done before, as early as 1801 by none other than Vice President Thomas Jefferson, and more recently, too. None of them were disbarred, vilified or jailed.

  9. George Miller says

    John Eastman is a fine, ethical man and attorney. He did nothing illegal. This is a political witch hunt to burn any and all strong Trump supporters.

  10. Leo of Sacramento says

    The article states:
    “The States United Democracy Center filed an early ethics complaint against Eastman with the State Bar. “This is a crucial victory in the effort to hold accountable those who tried to overturn the 2020 election,” said Christine P. Sun, a senior vice president, in a prepared statement. “This decision sends an unmistakable message: No one is above the law—not presidents, and not their lawyers.”

    Really?

    So, I suppose the same conclusion can he held to those who destroyed cities, in the name of George Floyd as well, AND their supporters? (VP Harris, being one) I suppose those who proclaimed, “Trump is an ILLIGITIMATE president” can be included in this discussion? (Letitia James ring a bell?) I guess we can include, whoever else, thought Trump wasn’t legitimate? Anyone?

    Banana Republic. That’s what we called, juntas who persecuted their rivals. Banana Republics.

    I believe it was the DEMO’s who challenged the BUSH presidency, that was settled over a ‘chad’?? Yet, they protested, challenged, and refused to accept the outcome. Do we arrest those too? Who sets the tone? Who determines the firing squads? Who leads them? Who, makes THAT determination, as to when we STAY A freedom loving Republic, or become a one-party “DEMOCRATIC DICTATORSHIP” labeled as ” THE BANANA REPUBLIC OF THE FRAGMENTED STATES OF AMERICA”??

    Just asking, because I’m doing a term paper on the subject………………….

  11. The Demwits are using Hitlers playbook..
    1. Limit or do away with free speech….Take away your first amendment right so you will never ever challenge their fraud based mail in ballot elections…
    2. Take away the peoples gun and ammunition so they are sub servant to only the people we want to have guns….Your second amendment right given to you by our founders to fight government tyranny…
    3. The other party can only vote for who WE choose that party an run for office….

    Hitler’s playbook to a tee….The democrat playbook wants to make you keep your mouth shut and do what you are told……The Nazi movement is “Alive and well in the Democrat party….Democrats are the party of Hamas…..Anti Israel…..

  12. From a layman’s point of view, the decision seems logical and just. There’s a difference between advocating for a client and helping him plot his crimes. Because BLM set fire to some cities, it does not justify an overthrow of the constitutional Republic.

    During Tea Party days some used to say, be careful that you don’t become what you hate. It seems that many of Trump’s personality-cult followers have been brainwashed enough by him to become just that, adopting shameful tactics similar to BLM and Antifa.

  13. “When he spread wild untruths about the 2020 election”
    Unfortunately, many of these ‘wild untruths’ are being shown to be true.
    So then what happens to the bar?

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