It took barely six months for Rudy Giuliani’s law licenses to be suspended in New York and Washington D.C. for “advancing claims in court that lack any legal and factual basis.”
But here in California, the law license of Giuliani’s co-star on that famous “Save America” rally stage nearly two years ago — former Chapman University law school dean John Eastman, architect of what some call a criminal coup attempt to keep former President Donald Trump in power — remains active and unblemished.
Anyone checking Eastman’s status in the California State Bar’s database would still have no clue that he has been under investigation for more than a year (to determine if Eastman “engaged in conduct in violation of California law and ethics rules governing attorneys following and in relation to the November 2020 presidential election”).
They also wouldn’t know that federal Judge David O. Carter concluded it was “more likely than not” that federal crimes were committed in trying to obstruct the congressional count of Electoral College votes.
“Dr. Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history,” Carter wrote. “Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower – it was a coup in search of a legal theory. The plan spurred violent attacks on the seat of our nation’s government, led to the deaths of several law enforcement officers, and deepened public distrust in our political process.”
By its own admission, the California Bar has some work to do on the attorney discipline front.
A blistering report from the California State Auditor recently concluded that the Bar has a woeful lack of transparency, may allow staff conflicts of interest to play into deciding which complaints to investigate and which to close with “private letters” that the public never knows exist, and was remiss in what’s supposed to be its highest mission: protecting the public from bad actors in the ranks.
There has been a lot of soul-searching at the State Bar in the wake of Thomas V. Girardi, the attorney who embezzled millions from his clients with nary a peep from the Bar itself. There were more than 200 complaints about him over 40 years of practice but zero public actions from the Bar — until Girardi was finally disbarred earlier this year.
“The handling of the Girardi matters brought to light serious failures in the State Bar’s attorney discipline system, failures that have contributed to a lack of confidence in the State Bar’s ability to carry out our core responsibility of protecting the public,” officials said in a public mea culpa on Nov. 3. “There is no excuse being offered here; Girardi caused irreparable harm to hundreds of his clients, and the State Bar could have done more to protect the public. We can never allow something like this to happen again.”
It has vowed reforms and transparency and accountability, saying public protection is now “the guiding light for all that we do.”
Speed, however, wasn’t articulated in that list of virtues. While Giuliani fights the ethics case brought against him by the D.C. Bar, the California Bar’s probe of Eastman continues, a spokesman told us on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
In August, States United Democracy Center — which has filed complaints against Eastman with the California Bar — asked the D.C. Bar to open an investigation into him as well. It expressed outrage that Eastman continued to advise states on how they might decertify their election results — more than a year after the election.
“John Eastman used his law licenses, from both D.C. and California, as part of a multi-pronged effort to undermine the will of the American voters, threaten our democracy, and obstruct the peaceful transfer of power,” said Aaron Scherzer, senior counsel at the States United Democracy Center, in a prepared statement.
Eastman has argued that he was zealously defending his client and had nothing to do with the chaos that erupted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Despite the State Bar’s press release publicly announcing its investigation on March 1, 2022, the proceedings remain confidential pursuant to California Bus. and Prof. Code § 6086.1(b) and State Bar Rule 2302,” Eastman said in an email via his attorney, Randy Miller.
“Dr. Eastman has cooperatively engaged in that process, and provided comprehensive information to the Bar in response to its inquiries. In so doing, it remains clear that Dr. Eastman assiduously complied with his duties to his then-client, former President Trump, as well as all his ethical responsibilities. Dr. Eastman is confident the Bar inquiry will be closed with no further action.”
Eastman has launched a subscription SubStack account. And on the Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo, Eastman is raising money for his legal bills, asserting that he’s being persecuted for trying to ensure a free and fair election.
He was “retired” from his tenured faculty position at Chapman University’s law school, had classes canceled at the University of Colorado Boulder, and “has been targeted by hard core leftist activists … seeking to have him disbarred and thereby lose his source of income,” the site says.
He hasn’t waivered from the premise: “We, as Americans, need to push back against illegal conduct in elections,” it says.
Eastman’s original fundraising goal of $200,000 to cover legal bills and whatnot has been hiked to $300,000. More than $257,000 has poured in from more than 3,600 donors. “All witch hunt. Mike Pence is BAD. Wish you the very best of everything you do,” said an anonymous donor who gave $50 on Nov. 14. “Thank G-d for patriots like Prof. Eastman,” said another.
We’ve asked the Jan. 6 committee for all documents relating to Eastman that have crossed its desk(s). It’s up to the committee to decide on what to release, we were told. If you want to see this stuff, you might want to drop a line to the lawmakers. Details at https://january6th.house.gov/
Source: Orange County Register