The State Bar of California filed disciplinary fees Thursday in opposition to Orange County legal professional John Eastman, accusing him of a number of ethics violations stemming from his actions whereas advising then-President Trump on the best way to overturn the 2020 election.
The fees might be step one to Eastman dropping his California regulation license.
Eastman, a former professor and dean at Chapman College’s Fowler College of Regulation, emerged as a key authorized advisor to Trump within the weeks after Joe Biden received the presidency.
Eastman helped develop a authorized and political technique selling the false declare that the outcomes have been tainted by fraud and misconduct by election officers, in response to a 35-page charging doc filed by the State Bar.
Within the months that adopted, the U.S. legal professional normal and others advised the Trump marketing campaign that there was no proof of widespread fraud that might have affected the result of the election. Dozens of courts dismissed instances alleging fraud.
Nonetheless, the State Bar alleges, Eastman continued to work with Trump to advertise the lie of a stolen election.
Eastman should be held accountable for his function in “an egregious and unprecedented assault on our democracy,” George Cardona, the State Bar’s chief trial counsel, mentioned in a press release.
An legal professional’s highest obligation is abiding by the federal and state constitutions, and Eastman violated that obligation, Cardona wrote.
The 11 disciplinary fees in opposition to Eastman embody failure to help the Structure and legal guidelines of the US, misrepresentation, in search of to mislead a court docket, and making false and deceptive statements that represent acts of “ethical turpitude, dishonesty and corruption.”
State Bar officers mentioned they intend to hunt Eastman’s disbarment earlier than the State Bar Courtroom.
In a Substack publish, Eastman mentioned the State Bar submitting is “stuffed with distortions, half-truths and outright falsehoods.” Within the publish, which seeks funds for his authorized protection, he additionally asks for prayers.
Eastman’s legal professional, Randall A. Miller, mentioned in a press release that his shopper “disputes each facet of the motion that has been filed in opposition to him by the State Bar.”
“The grievance filed in opposition to Eastman that triggered at this time’s motion by the State Bar is a part of a nationwide effort to make use of the bar self-discipline course of to penalize attorneys who opposed the present administration within the final presidential election,” the assertion mentioned. “Individuals of each political events needs to be troubled by this politicization of our nation’s state bars.”
The State Bar alleges that Eastman wrote authorized memos — one in December 2020 and one other on Jan. 3, 2021 — advising Vice President Mike Pence that he may declare that election leads to seven states have been in dispute. This might have led to electoral votes going uncounted and will have opened the door for Trump to stay president.
Within the second memo, Eastman asserted that the “election was tainted by outright fraud (each conventional poll stuffing and digital manipulation of voting tabulation machines),” in response to the state bar submitting.
Eastman knew or ought to have identified that the assertion was “false and deceptive,” the State Bar submitting mentioned.
In a speech to tens of 1000’s of Trump supporters on the Nationwide Mall in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, Eastman mentioned that “useless individuals had voted” and that digital voting machines made by the Dominion firm had altered the election outcomes.
Eastman’s feedback constituted an “act of ethical turpitude, dishonesty and corruption,” have been “false and deceptive” and helped provoke the gang to assault the Capitol, the submitting mentioned.
Eastman has a protracted historical past in California’s conservative authorized circles. He was employed by Chapman’s regulation college in 1999 and was dean from June 2007 to January 2010, then continued to show programs in constitutional regulation, property regulation, authorized historical past and the first Modification.
He retired in early 2021 after greater than 100 Chapman college and others affiliated with the college signed a letter calling on the college to take motion in opposition to him for his function within the Jan. 6 revolt.
Thursday’s fees are the results of a prolonged investigation into Eastman’s actions that started in 2021. In October of that yr, the nonpartisan authorized group States United Democracy Middle filed an ethics grievance calling on the State Bar to research Eastman’s Jan. 6 actions.
Christine P. Solar, a senior vp on the States United Democracy Middle, mentioned in a press release Thursday that Eastman “abused the authorized system and violated the oath he swore as an legal professional, in an try to dam the desire of the individuals and stop the peaceable switch of energy.”
The extent of element included within the submitting signifies that the State Bar is taking the allegations in opposition to Eastman significantly, mentioned UC Berkeley Regulation Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.
“John Eastman was a part of a concerted effort to overturn the election, and I believe it’s so necessary that we not lose sight of how distinctive and disturbing these occasions have been,” he mentioned. “They’ve by no means been seen earlier than on this nation. This can be a reminder that it’s not about partisanship — what went on then was inconsistent with democracy.”