Lawyers dispute the case of a former Trump adviser who devised a strategy to keep the former president in power

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney representing attorney John Eastman, the architect of a legal strategy to keep former President Donald Trump in power after the 2020 election, shed light on Wednesday on the legal debates surrounding the tallying electoral votes in a defense of Eastman’s advice to the former president who could have him disbarred.

Eastman, a former law school dean, faces 11 disciplinary charges in the State Bar Court of California stemming from his development of a questionable legal strategy to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to interfere with the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Prosecutors portrayed Eastman as a rogue lawyer and Trump enabler who fabricated baseless theory and made bogus allegations of fraud in hopes of overturning election results.

During the second day of proceedings, defense attorney Randall A. Miller pointed to scholarly debates about the scope of the vice president’s authority in the electoral process, in an apparent attempt to counter the argument that which Eastman was making baseless claims in a last-ditch attempt to salvage the Trump presidency.

Among his points, Miller pointed to a Dec. 8, 2020, memo written by Pence’s attorney at the time, Gregory Jacob, who testified for much of the day. In the memo, Jacob tells Pence that there is disagreement over whether Pence’s role is ministerial or whether the vice president can “play a decisive role in resolving objections to electoral votes on their merits”.

However, Pence ultimately concluded that his role was largely ceremonial and that he lacked the power to overrule electoral votes that would make Democrat Joe Biden the next president, despite public pressure from Trump and legal arguments. from Eastman.

In a Jan. 5 memo, Jacob argued that Eastman’s advice to delay the vote count would likely be lost in court and could result in a deadlock in Congress.

Earlier in the day-long hearing, prosecutors who called Jacob as a witness walked him through his interactions with Eastman, largely echoing what Jacob told the House committee on January 6 during his investigation of the 2021 Capitol insurrection.

Eastman’s assertions at various times that the vice president should — and had the power to — dismiss voters or delay proceedings did not align with the Constitution or federal law, Jacob said.

“No vice president in the entire history of our country has ever asserted — made a public statement — that he had the authority” to reject electoral ballot certificates, Jacob said.

For Pence, “It made no constitutional sense … that the framers of our Constitution bestow the power to reject voters on a single individual,” he added.

Miller argued earlier that Eastman never intended to steal the election, but was considering ways to delay the vote count so states could investigate allegations of voting irregularities. Trump’s fraud allegations have been flatly dismissed by the courts, including Republican-appointed judges.

Prosecutors said Eastman continued his efforts to undermine the election even after state and federal officials publicly dismissed allegations of fraud by Trump allies.

“All of his misconduct was for one purpose: to obstruct the Jan. 6 election count and prevent Vice President Pence from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the election,” Duncan Carling of the Chief Counsel’s Office of the lawsuit – which is seeking the disbarment of Eastman – said in the proceedings on Tuesday. “He was fully aware in real time that his plan was harming the nation.”

The procedure should last at least eight days. The California State Bar is a regulatory body and the only court system in the United States dedicated to the discipline of attorneys.

It may take weeks or months before a decision is made.

Once the process is complete, the State Bar Court has 90 days to file its decision, which is a recommendation that is then forwarded to the Supreme Court of California.

The State Bar alleges that Eastman violated California’s Business and Professions Code by making false and misleading statements that constitute acts of “moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption,” and in doing so he “violated that duty in an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and nullify the election results for the nation’s highest office – a flagrant and unprecedented attack on our democracy.

Eastman served as Dean of Law School at Chapman University from 2007 to 2010. He was a professor at the school when he retired in 2021.

Eastman has been a member of the California Bar since 1997, according to his website. He served as law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and 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.

Leave a Comment