“Judge finds Eastman culpable for ethics breaches in 2020 bid to keep Trump in power”


A California judge made a “preliminary finding” Thursday that attorney John Eastman breached professional ethics when he aided Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the 2020 election, a significant milestone in the lengthy proceedings over whether Eastman should lose his license to practice law.

Eastman said Thursday that the extensive disbarment proceedings — which delved deeply into his allegations of election fraud and irregularities, as well as his fringe theories about the vice president’s power to unilaterally choose the winner of the presidential election — had strengthened his belief that the 2020 election was tainted. Now, state bar officials are preparing to present “aggravation” evidence aimed at justifying their call to strip Eastman, a veteran conservative attorney who once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, of his law license.

The proceedings, which began in June, featured 30 days of testimony from witnesses that included former Vice President Mike Pence’s legal counsel Greg Jacob, former Bush administration attorney John Yoo, officials from numerous state election offices, statisticians and data analysts that Eastman relied on for some of his claims of widespread election irregularities, and constitutional law experts who delved into the history of the counting of electoral votes.

Eastman took the stand for more than a dozen hours throughout the trial and described his interactions with Trump in a Jan. 4, 2021, Oval Office meeting; his work with other members of Trump’s legal team like Boris Epshteyn and Kenneth Chesebro; and the drafting of his infamous memos describing options for Pence to assert control of the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

Eastman’s fight for his bar license comes as he is also fending off criminal charges in Georgia, where he was charged alongside Trump and 17 others with a sweeping racketeering conspiracy aimed at subverting the state’s election laws in 2020….

The lead bar attorney, Duncan Carling, also pressed Eastman about his view of the recent plea deal reached by co-defendant Jenna Ellis, an attorney who admitted to orchestrating false testimony about election fraud to Georgia legislators in 2020. Eastman said her plea — which was connected to her role in a Dec. 3, 2020, hearing held by Georgia Republican lawmakers at which Eastman was also a key witness — had no impact on his continued views about election fraud in 2020, he said.

“My statements were prefaced by caveats that make them all true,” he said.

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