The state of California is seeking to disbar John Eastman, who was a lawyer for former President Donald Trump and created memos after the 2020 presidential election about how Vice President Mike Pence could go about refusing to certify the election results.
In the filing for disbarment, the state cited making false statements about voter fraud and remarks he made during a rally on January 6.
“The 11 charges arise from allegations that Eastman engaged in a course of conduct to plan, promote, and assist then-President Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by obstructing the count of electoral votes of certain states,” the State Bar of California wrote in a press release about the disbarment effort.
The state bar has been investigating Eastman since March 2022, and will soon hold disciplinary hearings to decide whether he is able to keep practicing law in the state.
“The client is the decider”
Eastman attorney Randall Miller is defending his actions, stating that the bar should not be considering stripping a person’s law license because they don’t like the advice they gave.
“Any lawyer engaged to provide his or her legal assessment in a dynamic, consequential, and often emotional arena should be deeply troubled by the notion that a licensing authority (bar) can take their license if they do not like the lawyer’s advice, or find the advocacy distasteful,” Miller said on behalf of Eastman.
“The foundation of any engagement is that the lawyer shall protect the client’s interests, at every turn,” Miller added. “This includes raising all viable options. The attorney’s role is as an advisor, the client as the decider.”
The bar association has already made statements that condemned Eastman, so there’s not much hope that he won’t be disbarred.
“Eastman knew, or should have known, that the factual premise for his proposals―that massive fraud was at play―was false, and that Trump had lost his bid for re-election,” a statement by the association said.
“Eastman ignored these truths when he spoke at the ‘Save America March’ on January 6, 2020, inciting the crowd to take action when, with the intent to convince them that the outcome of the presidential election had been affected by fraud, he said that ‘dead people had voted’ in the presidential election, that Dominion voting machines had fraudulently manipulated the election results, and that Vice President Pence did not deserve to be in office if he did not delay the counting of electoral votes,” the statement continued. “These statements contributed to provoking the crowd that participated in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol that occurred after the rally.”
Others also facing sanctions
Eastman is not the only Trump lawyer who has been punished for actions taken in the wake of the election. Rudy Giuliani’s law license has been temporarily suspended in New York, and officials in Washington, D.C. are considering a suspension there as well. Sidney Powell is also facing disbarment in Texas, but that decision is still pending.
Eastman previously spoke up in his own defense, saying, last January at his Chapman University retirement announcement, “Every statement I have made is backed up with documentary and/or expert evidence, and solidly grounded in law.”
“I participated in a peaceful rally of nearly [half a] million people, two miles away from the violence that occurred at the capital [sic] and which began even before the speeches were finished,” he also said.
He was essentially forced out of the university where he had been a professor after colleagues protested his position there.