Ex-Trump lawyer and former law school dean who suggested Mike Pence interfere in the election should lose his California law license, judge says

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A judge recommended that attorney John Eastman forfeit his California legal permission in his efforts to keep former President Donald Trump in office after the 2020 election.

Eastman, a former law school dean, is charged with 11 counts in federal federal court for setting up a plan for Vice President Mike Pence to interfere with the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s victory.

California State Bar Court Judge Yvette Roland’s opinion, which was issued Wednesday, will now go to the California Supreme Court for a final decision on whether to block it. Eastman may appeal the higher court’s decision.

Eastman’s attorney, Randall A. Miller, said in an email that he and his client are “digesting the verdict” and will have a full opinion on the judge’s decision later.

The California State Bar is the governing body and the only legal system in the US dedicated to the discipline of attorneys.

Eastman is separately facing charges in Georgia in the case Trump and 18 allies are against him about a conspiracy to overthrow the Republican Party in the state. Eastman, who has pleaded not guilty, has said he was only doing his job as Trump’s lawyer while challenging the results of the 2020 election. He has criticized the case as targeting lawyers “for their hard work on behalf of their clients.”

He is also one of them unnamed conspirators in a story to disrupt the 2020 election brought by special counsel Jack Smith, but Eastman was not charged with federal charges.

State Bar of California said Eastman they violated government laws and their duties by making false and misleading statements that mean “moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption.” In doing so, the agency said, he “violated that mandate in an effort to usurp the will of the American people and overturn the results of the nation’s highest office — a devastating and unprecedented attack on our democracy.”

In his decision, Roland wrote: “Considering the seriousness of Eastman’s circumstances and balancing the impairment and mitigation, the court grants Eastman’s dismissal.”

Eastman was Trump’s closest adviser in the process January 6, 2021, attack at the US Capitol. He wrote a memo outlining plans for Pence to reject Biden’s confirmation vote while presiding over a January 6 congressional hearing to keep Trump in the White House.

Prosecutors want strip Eastman of his law license they portrayed him as a Trump supporter who concocted baseless stories and fake lies in hopes of swaying the election results.

Eastman’s attorney argued that his client did not intend to steal the election but was considering ways to limit the vote count so states could investigate allegations of voter impropriety. Trump’s claims of fraud have been rejected by the courts, including by Trump-appointed judges.

The judge was not persuaded by Mr. Eastman’s claims that his actions were not limited to representing Trump.

“It is true that a lawyer has a duty to make prompt declarations on behalf of a client,” Roland wrote. “However, Eastman’s misrepresentations were falsehoods that could not be construed as active support. Eastman failed to uphold his great duty of honesty and breached his moral duty by telling lies to prove his legal points. Finally, the court stated that moral suppression is a departure from professional norms and is arguably inconsistent with the First Amendment’s protections and the duty to preach vigorously.”

The United States United Democracy Center, which filed Eastman’s original ethics complaint, welcomed the judge’s decision.

“This is an important victory in the effort to hold accountable those who tried to interfere with the 2020 election. After hearing from nearly a dozen witnesses in a 35-day trial, the jury found that John Eastman violated his duty to uphold the law,” said Christine P. Sun, deputy attorney general. CEO of a non-profit organization. “This decision sends an unmistakable message: No one is above the law — not presidents, not their lawyers.”

Eastman has been a member of the California Bar since 1997, according to his website. He was a law clerk to the United States Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, and the founding director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a law firm affiliated with the Claremont Institute. He ran for California attorney general in 2010, finishing second in the Republican primary.

Eastman was dean of the law school at Chapman University in Southern California from 2007 to 2010 and was a professor at the school. when he retired in 2021 after more than 160 faculty members signed a letter asking the university to take action against him.

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