California Bar Court Issues Preliminary Finding of Culpability Against Eastman as Disciplinary Trial Draws to a Close

States United Filed a Bar Complaint Against Eastman in 2021 for Assisting in Trump’s Attempts to Discredit and Overturn the 2020 Election; Experts Available for Interviews

Published November 2, 2023

Los Angeles, CA — The States United Democracy Center released the following statement in response to Judge Yvette Roland’s preliminary finding of culpability against John Eastman in the State Bar of California’s disciplinary case against him. The trial is expected to conclude tomorrow, after which the parties will have until November 22, 2023, to file post-trial briefs. The court will then make a final ruling, which will include a determination of the appropriate sanction, within 90 days of the trial’s closing.

Christine P. Sun, Senior Vice President of Legal at the States United Democracy Center:

“As we reach the end of an ethics trial that spanned from June into November, it’s never been more clear that John Eastman had no legal or factual basis for his plan to help Donald Trump steal the 2020 presidential election. Today’s preliminary finding of culpability marks a major milestone in the State Bar’s pursuit of accountability.

In the time since this trial began, Eastman has been charged with nine criminal counts in Georgia for his participation in an alleged criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election results, and implicated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal election interference charges against Trump. Eastman, who used his law license to betray our democracy and his professional responsibility as an attorney, must be held accountable.

Week after week in the trial, the State Bar of California has called witnesses with deep election expertise—including officials from both parties—who explained that the 2020 election was fair and accurate. Experts testified that there was no historical precedent for Eastman’s scheme to disrupt the electoral count and throw out the votes of millions of Americans. As then-Vice President Pence’s counsel concluded, Eastman’s legal theory was a ‘results oriented position’ that was ‘essentially entirely made up.’

In contrast, many of Eastman’s witnesses lacked a basic understanding of how elections are administered and the ‘analyses’ they used to cast doubt on the 2020 results and support Eastman’s case fell apart under minimal scrutiny. Eastman’s own constitutional law expert, Professor John Yoo testified that President Biden won the election ‘fair and square’ and that it was obvious there was no legitimate dispute over electoral votes for Pence to decide.

Lawyers swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. John Eastman not only violated that oath, he did so with enormous consequences for our democracy. He should no longer be allowed to practice law.”

States United initially filed an ethics complaint against Eastman in California, where he is licensed to practice law by the State Bar, in October 2021 for his role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. That complaint 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. As more information on Eastman’s activities came to light, States United filed additional supplemental materials to the complaint, creating a comprehensive overview of Eastman’s involvement in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Learn more about what’s happened so far in Eastman’s Bar Trial and the procedures of the Bar Court here. You can also watch the livestream of the disciplinary proceedings, which will resume at 9 a.m. PT tomorrow, November 3, 2023, for what is expected to be the final day of the trial.

States United has legal experts available for interviews. Learn more here about our efforts to hold people accountable when they violate our democracy.


About the States United Democracy Center

The States United Democracy Center is a nonpartisan organization advancing free, fair, and secure elections. We connect 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/.