- John Eastman is a senior fellow at the conservative Claremont Institute.
- Prior to January 6, he drafted memos to justify overturning the 2020 election results.
A bipartisan group of legal experts has written to the California State Bar to demand that an ethics investigation be opened into a conservative lawyer who advised the Trump administration on how to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
In a six-page memo obtained by Insider last week, John Eastman, a senior fellow at The Claremont Institute, argued that Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally reject votes for President Joe Biden and secure a second term for former President Donald Trump — what constitutional law expert Kermit Roosevelt termed “a proposed coup cloaked in legal language.”
In offering that advise to Trump’s legal team, some believe Eastman violated his professional responsibilities as an attorney.
“Lawyers, particularly those who represent elected and appointed officials, have a solemn duty to the public to advise their clients within the four corners of the law, and to ensure that they do not allow themselves to become the tools by which those officials seek to undermine democratic governance,” states a complaint filed by the States United Democracy Center, a nonpartisan group that advocates for election integrity.
In particular, the complaint notes that Eastman “assisted in Mr. Trump’s dangerous efforts to prevent or disrupt the counting of electoral votes” and urged former Vice President Pence “to violate his legal obligations.”
Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican who served in the cabinet of the Bush administration, said the complaint was an effort to ensure “democracy prevails even in the face of unprecedented disinformation and attempts to overturn a free, fair election.”
“It is essential that policymakers and legal experts from both sides of the aisle stand up and fight against these anti-democratic actions taken by John Eastman and his peers,” Whitman said in a statement.
Eastman asserted that the complaint is “politically motivated” and told Insider he looks forward to “responding in full” if it advances.
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