States United Democracy Center Statement on the State Bar of California’s Announcement of Ethics Investigation into Trump Attorney John Eastman

3.1.2022

Los Angeles, CA — The States United Democracy Center released the following statement from Senior Vice President of Legal Christine P. Sun in response to the State Bar of California’s announcement this afternoon that Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona’s office is conducting an ethics investigation into Trump Attorney John Eastman. The State Bar’s investigation is “focused on whether Eastman engaged in conduct in violation of California law and ethics rules governing attorneys following and in relation to the November 2020 presidential election.”

“We are pleased that the State Bar of California agrees, as we urged last year, that an ethics investigation is warranted into the conduct of John Eastman, who represented former President Trump in his unprecedented attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The more we learn about John Eastman’s actions leading up to, and following, Trump’s attempt to undermine the will of American voters, the more anti-democratic he appears. The State Bar’s investigation is a welcome and necessary step forward to holding democracy violators accountable, including those who seek to use their legal credentials to undermine the foundations of our democracy.

“We also call upon the State Bar to conduct its investigation with the transparency required by state law and consistent with its longstanding practices.”

States United spokespeople and experts are available for interviews on this story.

Additional Background:

  • The States United Democracy Center filed a complaint against John Eastman in the fall of 2021 requesting that the State Bar of California open an investigation into Eastman’s conduct. It was supported by 25 bipartisan signatories, including former federal and California state supreme court judges, numerous former Republican officials, leading law professors and the Bush and Obama White House ethics advisors.
  • A month later, the States United Democracy Center submitted a supplemental letter to its complaint to the State Bar of California about John Eastman. The letter incorporated 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 on January 6, 2022.
  • In February 2022, the States United Democracy Center appealed the State Bar’s procedural decision to close our complaint and urged it to reverse course. In our appeal, we argued that the Bar’s purported procedural ground for closing our complaint violates the State Bar Act. It is inconsistent with the State Bar’s longstanding and well-settled practices and decreases transparency on issues important to the public.
  • The appeal also expanded on the complaint to include new information, including information about a memo that Eastman recently sent to a legislator in Wisconsin. The memo incorrectly asserts that the Wisconsin Legislature has the power to “decertify” the state’s electors for the 2020 presidential election — more than one year after the election.  

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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 www.statesuniteddemocracy.org.