Authorities overseeing lawyers in California have announced they’re seeking the disbarment of Trump ally John Eastman, who was infamously involved in the conspiracies to keep Donald Trump in the White House despite his well-documented 2020 loss to Joe Biden.
An announcement from the state bar points to Eastman’s part in pushing the idea that then-Vice President Mike Pence could take action during the Congressional proceedings to certify the 2020 presidential election outcome that would’ve blocked Biden’s win. There was never any duly established legal foundation for the idea, but Eastman also spoke at the outdoor rally in D.C. that preceded the attack on the Capitol on January 6 inspired by Trump’s lies — remarks to which the state bar also pointed. The announcement outlines new action specifically by Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona at the bar. There is a specialized court in California — the State Bar Court — for dealing with these sorts of allegations and desired punishments, although there is also another level of review by the California state Supreme Court in the event that court decides on suspension or disbarment.
“There is nothing more sacrosanct to our American democracy than free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power,” Cardona said. “For California attorneys, adherence to the U.S. and California Constitutions is their highest legal duty. The Notice of Disciplinary Charges alleges that Mr. Eastman violated this duty in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land—an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy—for which he must be held accountable.”
The Notice of Disciplinary Charges against Eastman also notes that he was in a position where it was functionally impossible, if not for something like reckless disregard for the truth, to miss the utter lack of a reasonable legal foundation for what he was doing. The record was clear. Trump’s claims of systematic fraud and pushes for action on the election results were defeated in court over and over and over again.
The state bar’s latest conclusions also point specifically to how Eastman spoke against Pence in his remarks at the January 6 rally — and Pence became a specific target of the violent crowd assembled in D.C. Elsewhere, others connected closely or more distantly to Trump who have faced similar pushes for consequences include Rudy Giuliani, who was suspended from practicing law in New York and Washington, D.C., and was subsequently found likely guilty of ethics violations by a committee in the latter jurisdiction. (Proceedings there continue.) Rudy is also a target of a criminal investigation in Georgia into pro-Trump meddling after 2020. Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, has also faced court action from the state bar there over his lawsuit after the 2020 presidential race that challenged the results in four states, none of which were his own. The Supreme Court rejected Paxton’s 2020 case.
NEW: California state bar regulators announced they've filed a disciplinary case against Trump lawyer John Eastman re: 2020, and will seek to disbar him. More to come.
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) January 26, 2023