Legal experts urge 'expeditious action' by California Bar to punish Eastman for Trump coup
Editor's note: This article has been updated.
Two legal experts have penned an op-ed for The Sacramento Bee challenging the California Bar to take action in an effort to hold former Trump lawyer John Eastman accountable for his involvement in former President Donald Trump's coup to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Eastman, like many other Trump allies, made extended efforts to undermine the United States' election integrity, often spinning baseless conspiracies and unfounded claims of voter fraud. Now, some time has passed, and although the California b has vowed to investigate, very little action has been taken.
Norm Eisen, former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, and Dennis Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor and Chief Assistant City Attorney in San Francisco, are appealing to the association in their new piece.
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Eisen and Aftergut noted that the Bar began its investigation 16 months ago and insisted that its “goal and policy” is to “dismiss a complaint, admonish the attorney or have the State Bar Office of Trial Counsel file formal charges within 12 months after it receives a complaint.”
But the writers note the Bar's lack of action thus far against Eastman.
"It’s been nearly a year since the California Bar announced it was investigating Eastman, a former faculty member at Chapman University Law School in Orange, Calif," Eisen and Aftergut wrote. "We were among the first lawyers filing complaints in California; the first in October 2021 by the States United Democracy Center."
They added, "But since March, when the state Bar’s investigation was announced, there’s been radio silence about its investigation. To our knowledge, Eastman continues to practice law using his California license."
READ MORE: Mike Pence: John Eastman 'didn’t even believe what he was telling' Donald Trump about election fraud
At one point in their piece, they noted Eastman's expertise and argued that he was well aware that the legal advice and suggestions he offered were, indeed, unlawful.
"Eastman wrote memos saying that Pence had the unilateral power to reject Biden’s certification or otherwise tamper with it," they wrote. "Luckily for us, Pence had better legal advice and followed it."
They continued, "Eastman himself apparently knew he was giving unlawful advice. Pence has written that 'Eastman had conceded . . . that rejecting electoral votes was a bad idea and any attempt to do so would be quickly overturned by a unanimous Supreme Court.' This guy didn’t even believe what he was telling the president.'”
The two are urging the Bar to take "expeditious action" due to the severe nature of Eastman's actions and the threat he and others posed to the United States voting system.
"Participation in an attempted coup requires expeditious action," they insisted. "In January of 2021, a group led by Lawyers Defending American Democracy filed a disciplinary complaint against Rudolph Giuliani. Just five months later, in June, a New York court suspended his law license. Giuliani committed ethical violations in making false and misleading statements about the 2020 election to courts, lawmakers and the public."
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