California State Bar decides to disbar Trump ally John Eastman

John Eastman, University of Colorado Boulders Visiting Scholar on Conservative Thought and Politics, speaks about his intention to sue the university during a press conference outside CU Boulder on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

Andy Cross | Denver Post | Getty Images

The California State Bar on Thursday charged John Eastman, an attorney with close ties to former President Donald Trump, with 11 disciplinary charges related to his alleged plan to undo President Joe Biden’s election victory in 2020.

Chief Attorney George Cardona’s office intends to seek Eastman’s disbarment, according to a press release from the California State Bar.

Eastman is accused of making false statements about alleged voter fraud, including during a ‘stop the steal’ rally outside the White House on January 6, 2021. Eastman’s remarks ‘helped’ provoke a crowd of Trump fans to storm the U.S. Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from confirming Biden’s election victory, according to the state bar.

Eastman served as the legal architect of one of many efforts to undo Trump’s loss to Biden. Eastman drafted documents advancing a dubious legal theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to unilaterally refuse to certify Electoral College votes for Biden from major swing states.

Pence, who presided over congressional efforts to confirm Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, refused to go along with that plan, despite pressure from Trump.

Eastman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

The indictment against Eastman says his proposed strategies “were unsupported by law, based on false and misleading assertions of fact, and designed to keep Trump in power.”

Eastman allegedly “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,” Cardona said in the press release.

The attorney “must be held accountable,” Cardona said.

Eastman, who has been admitted to practice law in California since 1997, “violated his obligations as an attorney” by promoting allegations of voter fraud that he knew or should have known were false, according to the 35-page charging document.

He is also accused of promoting a legal view of Pence’s powers “that no reasonable lawyer with expertise in constitutional or electoral law would have concluded the vice president was legally entitled to take.”

Eastman figured prominently in public presentations of evidence gathered by the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot. The committee voted to refer Trump to the Justice Department for criminal investigation before concluding its investigation late last year.