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Who Is John Eastman?

John Eastman is a lawyer licensed to practice law in California and Washington, D.C. His ability to practice law is currently under investigation, and will be the likely subject of a judicial ruling in California in upcoming months. He represented former President Donald Trump in late 2020 and early 2021. During that time, he was also a professor at the Chapman University School of Law in California, where he previously served as Dean.

John Eastman

Background

Prior to working for Donald Trump, Eastman worked at a variety of conservative-affiliated law firms and non-profits. He also unsuccessfully ran for a U.S. House seat in California’s 34th congressional district.


Eastman was a key architect of the attempt to keepDonald Trump in power after he lost the 2020 presidential election. His efforts focused on, but were not limited to, supporting the fake elector scheme. Eastman took multiple steps to ensure Donald Trump would remain in office, including:

  • Writing two legal memos arguing that on Jan. 6 then-Vice President Mike Pence could discard the Electoral College votes for President Biden in 7 states that Biden won or postpone the electoral count altogether, overturning the will of the voters in those states.

  • Filing litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to block the counting of electoral votes from four states in which President Biden won.

  • Encouraging state legislators in seven states where President Biden won the popular vote to ignore the will of the voters and send pro-Trump electors to Congress instead.

  • Participating in multiple closed-door meetings and media appearances where he spread false claims about the election, including that the Vice President has authority to delay or throw out the electoral votes, which would overturn the will of millions of voters.

  • Making unproven claims about widespread election fraud during a speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C., which preceded the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

California Bar Investigation & Trial

As a result of his role in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Eastman, who is barred in California, is currently the subject of a formal investigation and 11 disciplinary charges in that state. A multi-month trial to determine whether he can retain his bar license in the state wrapped up in November 2023.


The judge in the case issued a preliminary finding that John Eastman was guilty of ethical violations based on this past behavior. A final decision about whether or not Eastman will be able to continue practicing law in California is expected in the next few months.


Why Was Eastman Indicted in Fulton County, GA?

John Eastman was indicted along with Donald Trump and 17 other defendants in Fulton County, GA in August 2023.


The allegations in the indictment state that Eastman played a key role in several of the concurrent efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. His alleged actions include:

  • Trying to get members of the Georgia Senate to appoint a false slate of presidential electors to overturn the will of the people and declare Donald Trump the winner of Georgia’s election, despite Biden winning the popular vote in the state.

  • Preparing memos and arranging plans to assemble the slate of fake electors who ultimately met in Georgia and signed and submitted a fake electoral certificate.

Eastman is charged with 9 felony counts, including:

  • violating Georgia’s Racketeer and Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act,

  • soliciting the violation of an oath by a public officer

  • conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer

  • conspiracy to commit forgery

  • filing false documents

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