John Eastman, former Trump attorney and Chapman Law School dean, faces possible disbarment

A California judge recommended that John Eastman, Chapman Law School’s former dean, face disbarment for his alleged role in former President Donald Trump’s Georgia election scheme.

“Eastman’s wrongdoing constitutes exceptionally serious ethical violations warranting severe professional discipline,” Judge Yvette Roland wrote in her decision.

The California State Bar Court Eastman found culpable of 10 disciplinary charges, claiming he engaged in misconduct when he allegedly helped Trump try to overturn 2020 election results in Georgia. Eastman, the former president and 17 others were named in the indictment that accused the group of violating the Georgia RICO Act.

“Every California attorney has the duty to uphold the constitution and the rule of law,” Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona said. “Mr. Eastman repeatedly violated that duty. Worse, he did so in a way that threatened the fundamental principles of our democracy.”

Defendants In State Of Georgia V. Trump Case To Be Booked Through Fulton County Jail
In this handout provided by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, John Eastman, former attorney to former US President Donald Trump, poses for his booking photo.

Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICOallows this group of people to be charged for criminal acts that are alleged to have taken place both in Georgia or outside the state in furtherance of the conspiracy to overturn the outcome of the presidential election in Georgia.

Cardona said that Eastman “abandoned his ethical and legal duties” when he allegedly conspired with Trump to overturn the results. The chief trial counsel added that Eastman knew “there was no good faith theory or argument to legally reject” the election results of any state or to “delay the January 6 electoral count.”

“The harm caused by Mr. Eastman’s abandonment of his duties as a lawyer, and the threat his actions posed to our democracy, more than warrant his disbarment,” Cardona said.

The disciplinary hearing started last June and continued through November 2023. Attorneys said it consisted of 23 witnesses and more than 700 exhibits.

“Dr. Eastman maintains that his handling of the legal issues he was asked to assess after the November 2020 election was based on reliable legal precedent, prior presidential elections, research of constitutional text, and extensive scholarly material,” Eastman and his attorney said in a statement.

“The process undertaken by Dr. Eastman in 2020 is the same process taken by lawyers every day and everywhere – indeed, that is the essence of what lawyers do. They are ethically bound to be zealous advocates for their clients – a duty of Dr. Eastman holds inviolate.”

The case will now be referred to the California Supreme Court barring a challenge. Eastman cannot practice law in the state while the court considers the case.

The State Bar Court of California is the only independent court in the nation dedicated to attorney disciplinary hearings.