Criminal Charges Against Former Trump Lawyers John Eastman & Rudy Giuliani Pushed By Ex-Prosecutor

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Per a new article in POLITICO by columnist and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, there is “a straightforward crime that could be charged quickly — and the targets are Trump’s band of dishonest attorneys.” The particular federal criminal offense Mariotti had in mind is making false statements to the U.S. government.

“Typically, lawyers are not a weak link,” Mariotti wrote. “In my experience, lawyers have been the most difficult defendants to convict. They’re usually careful about what they say and what they write down. But Trump’s coterie of dishonest legal advisers — John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, [Sidney] Powell, Jenna Ellis and [Jeffrey] Clark — weren’t careful. In their attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, they said things that were demonstrably false and were personally involved in lies told to government officials. If prosecutors can prove that one or more of them created the false certificates, and knew that doing so was illegal, they may have criminal liability. If they knew about the false statements and advanced the scheme to transmit them to the U.S. Senate, that may also be enough. Clark is facing the same criminal liability for writing false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch.”

The false certificates to which Mariotti referred are the signed documents featuring false claims that certain groups of people were the duly selected — and Trump-supporting — members of the electoral college from their respective states. These so-called alternate slates of electors in states that Biden won had no legitimate foundation in the law, but Trump and allies of his ran with the concept anyway. And landing criminal charges, as raised by Mariotti, against Giuliani, Eastman, or another lawyer tied to Trump could support a potential criminal case against the ex-president himself. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the January 6 committee in the House, has explicitly implicated Trump in his personal capacity in the fake electoral vote scheme. “We’ve seen how President Trump worked with and directed the Republican National Committee and others to organize an effort to create fake electoral slates and later to transmit those materially false documents to federal officials,” Cheney said.

Mariotti noted that Giuliani apparently straightforwardly admitted certain election fraud claims he was making weren’t supported by evidence. “My recollection: [Giuliani] said, we’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence,” Arizona state House Speaker Rep. Rusty Bowers (R) told January 6 panel member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “And I don’t know if that was a gaffe or maybe he didn’t think through what he said. But both myself and others in my group, the three in my group and my counsel both remembered that specifically and afterwards we kind of laughed about it.”

“If someone concretely moved forward that [fake electoral vote] scheme — by signing the documents, preparing the documents, or organizing the meetings — they committed a felony if they knew the documents contained false statements and they had the intent to do something illegal,” Mariotti explained. The former prosecutor also pointed to the case of Jeffrey Clark, who was a top official at the Justice Department as Trump’s presidency ended. Clark helped put together and led the promotion of an infamous letter he wanted fellow officials to sign claiming the department had reason to be concerned about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election outcome in states including Georgia, which was false. The Justice Department obtained no such evidence and reached no such conclusion.

“As attorneys, it will be hard for Eastman, Giuliani and Ellis to claim that they had no idea that they were acting outside the four corners of state law by convening “alternative” electors and submitting them to the Senate even though the state had already submitted official electors,” Mariotti said. “It will also be hard for Clark to argue that he had no idea that what he was doing was illegal, given that his superiors forcefully told him so.” Read more at this link.