11.17.2021

Los Angeles, CA — The States United Democracy Center submitted a supplemental letter to its October 4, 2021 complaint to the State Bar of California about Trump attorney John Eastman. The letter incorporates newly reported information about his leading role in assisting then-President Trump’s efforts to pressure then-Vice President Pence to reject or delay the counting of electoral college votes at the Joint Session of Congress. The supplemental information includes the draft op-ed written by Greg Jacob, then-Chief Counsel to Pence. Jacob urges an investigation into Eastman and other Trump lawyers’ conduct and describes Eastman and Rudy Giuliani as “using their credentials to sell a stream of snake oil to the most powerful office in the world, wrapped in the guise of a lawyer’s advice.” 

The letter also offers a detailed timeline of Eastman’s activities, including descriptions of his conversations with 300+ state legislators alongside Rudy Giuliani on January 2, encouraging them to decertify and replace their states’ lawfully appointed slates of electors, as well as reports of numerous closed-door meetings and public media appearances in which Eastman falsely claimed that the vice president has unilateral power to reject duly appointed electors. 

“Lawyers have a solemn duty to serve as guardians of the rule of law, including upholding our constitutional democracy,” said Christine P. Sun, Legal Director of the States United Democracy Center. “The more we learn about John Eastman’s actions leading into, and following, Trump’s attempt to undermine the will of American voters, the more anti-democratic he appears. It’s paramount the Bar investigate these serious allegations.” 

“John Eastman’s shifting statements about his legal advice to then-Vice President Mike Pence regarding the electoral vote count only provides further support for the State Bar to investigate and get to the bottom of this,” said Norm Eisen, Co-Chair of the States United Democracy Center and former White House Ethics Czar. “Recent events warrant a deeper dive into the contacts that Eastman made in the lead up to the January 6 insurrection, including with Pence’s aides.” 

Key excerpts from the supplemental letter include: 

“Since we filed our Complaint six weeks ago, a great deal of new information has emerged that strongly confirms the allegations of unethical conduct in the Complaint and underscores the need to investigate them. These revelations highlight the need for the bar to undertake a thorough review. Perhaps the most striking piece of new information is … from a draft op-ed by Greg Jacob, the former Chief Counsel to Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Jacob has served extensively in government under Republican presidents and is now a partner in a leading national law firm. Mr. Pence was the target of Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Eastman’s campaign to hijack or disrupt the electoral count, and Mr. Jacob was an eyewitness to Mr. Eastman’s role in it. Mr. Jacob’s words as an eyewitness — that Mr. Eastman’s, and his colleague Rudy Giuliani’s, conduct involved ‘a web of lies and disinformation’ and ‘snake oil … wrapped in the guise of a lawyer’s advice’ — are substantively identical to those of our October 4 Complaint, which was based on public information. 

“If there were nothing more than Mr. Jacob’s recently published account, the case for an investigation would be exceptionally strong. But there is a great deal more. 

“The bulk of the new information relates to Mr. Eastman’s central role in Mr. Trump’s effort to hijack or derail the Joint Session of Congress that met to conduct the electoral count on January 6, 2021. We continue to learn about the many moving parts of that operation, many of them designed and orchestrated in accord with Mr. Eastman’s false legal advice. Mr. Eastman also appears to have had a larger role than previously understood in both public and private efforts to pressure Mr. Pence, and the new incidents that have emerged confirm his indifference to the truth and to upholding the Constitution. We review that information, together with Mr. Eastman’s recent public defense of his actions, in Part I.” 

The original complaint, supported by 25 bipartisan leaders including former federal judges and former California Supreme Court Justices, details Eastman’s actions from Election Day 2020 to January 6, 2021, when Congress’ electoral vote count was violently disrupted. It includes his role in helping provoke the pro-Trump crowd at the “Stop the Steal” rally that occurred before the attack; his authorship of wildly misleading legal advice; and his work in the frivolous Texas vs. Pennsylvania lawsuit.  

This bar complaint against John Eastman is the latest action taken by States United and other legal experts to hold democracy violators accountable. Learn more here

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About the States United Democracy Center 

The States United Democracy Center is a nonpartisan organization advancing free, fair, and secure elections. We focus on connecting state officials, law enforcement leaders, and pro-democracy partners across America with the tools and expertise they need to safeguard our democracy. For more information, visit https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/