California State Bar recommends ex-Trump attorney John Eastman be disbarred for 2020 election efforts

Eastman was charged with multiple disciplinary counts by the state bar.

March 27, 2024, 9:03 PM

The California State Bar has recommended that former Trump election attorney John Eastman be disbarred, a judge said in a filing on Wednesday.

Eastman was charged with multiple disciplinary counts by the State Bar of California last January 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."

"Eastman's wrongdoing was committed directly in the course and scope of his representation of President Trump and the Trump Campaign," State Bar Court Judge Yvette D. Roland said in Wednesday's filling. "Eastman's actions transgressed those ethical limits by advocating, participating in and pursuing a strategy to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election that lacked evidentiary or legal support."

"In view of the circumstances surrounding Eastman's misconduct and balancing the aggravation and mitigation, the court recommends that Eastman be disbarred," the judge wrote.

The judge found that Eastman exhibited an "unwillingness to acknowledge ethical lapses regarding his actions, demonstrating an apparent inability to accept responsibility."

The lack of remorse shown by Eastman, Roland said, "presents a significant risk that Eastman may engage in further unethical conduct, compounding the threat to the public."

In a statement to ABC News, Eastman's attorney Randall Miller said that Eastman maintains that the "handling of the issues he was asked to asses after the November 2020 election was based on reliable legal precedent."

Defendant John Eastman, left, looks toward attorney Buddy Parker during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, Jan, 19, 2024, in Atlanta.
Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

"The process undertaken by Dr. Eastman in 2020 is the same process taken by lawyers every day and everywhere -- indeed, that is the essence of what lawyers do," Miller said. "To the extent today's decision curtails that principle, we are confident the Review Court will swiftly provide a remedy."

Investigators for the California bar said Eastman made "demonstrably false and misleading statements" with the memos he drafted that became the framework for the "legal strategies" aimed at having then-Vice President Mike Pence interfere with the certification of the 2020 election.

The disbarment proceedings, which began in June, featured testimony from Pence's legal counsel Greg Jacob, state election officials from several states, and experts who Eastman relied on for his false claims of widespread election fraud.

Eastman is also one of six alleged co-conspirators in the federal election interference indictment that special counsel Jack Smith brought against former President Donald Trump in August.

Separately, Eastman has been charged alongside Trump and other co-defendants in the separate criminal election interference case in Georgia. He has pleaded not guilty.

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