'Coup in search of a legal theory': Judge delivers damning rebuke — orders Eastman to hand over docs

'Coup in search of a legal theory': Judge delivers damning rebuke — orders Eastman to hand over docs
Attorney John C. Eastman in 2013, Wikimedia Commons

A federal district judge has delivered “coup memos” author John Eastman a damning rebuke as he ordered the former Chapman University School of Law professor to hand over 101 documents to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. The rebuke appears to be extended to the DOJ and Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Donald Trump as well.

Eastman, who is the current chairman of an anti-LGBTQ organization, the National Organization For Marriage (NOM), had argued 111 documents are privileged. The judge designated just ten that could be withheld.

“Dr. Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history. Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower—it was a coup in search of a legal theory. The plan spurred violent attacks on the seat of our nation’s government, led to the deaths of several law enforcement officers, and deepened public distrust in our political process,” Judge David O. Carter wrote, in a ruling posted by Politico’s Kyle Cheney.

“More than a year after the attack on our Capitol, the public is still searching for accountability,” he added, in what some might see as a mild dig at the Dept. of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland. “This case cannot provide it. The Court is tasked only with deciding a dispute over a handful of emails. This is not a criminal prosecution; this is not even a civil liability suit. At most, this case is a warning about the dangers of ‘legal theories’ gone wrong, the powerful abusing public platforms, and desperation to win at all costs,” the judge wrote.

“If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution. If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself,” he added, in a stronger apparent rebuke to Eastman, Trump, Garland, and DOJ.

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