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California Bar Slaps Trump Lawyer John Eastman with 11 Disciplinary Charges for ‘False’ Election Fraud Statements

A TV screen showing John Eastman during a Jan. 6 Committee hearing

Former lawyer of former President Donald Trump, John Eastman, appears on screen during the fourth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The California bar slapped former President Donald Trump’s attorney John Eastman with nearly a dozen disciplinary charges for “false and misleading statements” alleging fraud in the 2020 election.

The State Bar of California’s Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona intends to seek Eastman’s disbarment for alleged violations of Business and Professions Code section 6106, which punishes making false and misleading statements that constitute acts of “moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption.”

“There is nothing more sacrosanct to our American democracy than free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power,” Cardona said in a statement. “For California attorneys, adherence to the U.S. and California Constitutions is their highest legal duty. The Notice of Disciplinary Charges alleges that Mr. Eastman violated this duty in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land — an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy — for which he must be held accountable.”

Eastman is the author of the so-called “coup memo,” a six-point plan to overturn the election results.

“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 bar wrote in a press release.

A federal judge in California previously found that Trump and Eastman “more likely than not” violated two felony statutes in their attempts to overturn the election: obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States. The finding came in the context of civil litigation involving discovery by the Jan. 6th Committee.

In 35-page notice of the disciplinary charges, the bar’s supervising attorney Duncan Carling wrote that Eastman had every opportunity to learn that his election fraud claims were baseless, including from top Trump officials.

“In the months following the election, however, the Trump campaign received information from numerous credible sources, including Attorney General of the United States William Barr and members of Trump’s inner circle of advisors, that there was no evidence of widespread election fraud or illegality that could have affected the outcome of the election,” the notice states. “On or about December 1, 2020, Attorney General Barr, who headed the United States Department of Justice, which had monitored state elections for fraud and illegality, publicly stated that ‘to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.'”

More than 60 courts rejected election fraud claims by Trump and his allies.

“As a result of information received from credible sources and numerous court rulings, by no later than on or about December 9, 2020, respondent knew, or was grossly negligent in not knowing, that there was no evidence upon which a reasonable attorney would rely of election fraud or illegality that could have affected the outcome of the election, and that there was no evidence upon which a reasonable attorney would rely that the election had been ‘stolen’ by the Democratic Party or other parties acting in a coordinated conspiracy to fraudulently ‘steal’ the election from Trump,” the notice continues.

Eastman still persisted with his election fraud claims long after that date, through at least Jan. 6, 2021. The lawyer spoke at Trump’s rally that day at the Ellipse.

Read the notice of the disciplinary charges below.

Update—Jan. 26, 2023, at 5:38 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include more information about the disciplinary charges from the notice filed by the bar.


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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."