The Disbarment Trial of John Eastman: Show Trial by a Democrat Judge

John Eastman testifies back in 2013. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The ongoing California State Bar hearing of Dr. John Eastman, the renowned Constitutional scholar and former attorney to Donald Trump, is starting to look less like a genuine judicial exercise and more like a circus show.

At the center of the case are the results of the 2020 election, specifically with regard to whether statements Eastman made (or brought in court) regarding election irregularity presented “tenable” arguments. The job of Judge Yvette D. Roland of the California State Bar Court, who recently donated to Gov. Gavin Newsom, is to assess the plausibility of Eastman’s claims based on information available to Eastman when making them.

On Thursday, Judge Roland granted the State Bar a significant advantage: in contrast to her ruling only a few days earlier that Eastman’s post-January 6th evidence was inadmissible, the Court now finds that such evidence is admissible… as long as it’s from Eastman’s opponent. And as long as it’s from the government.

Eastman had also enlisted several experts for his defense, including John Valentine and Joseph Fried, to testify about voter anomalies and state failures to meet professional auditing standards – evidence supporting irregularity.

The State Bar, however, moved to exclude these findings, and Judge Roland quickly agreed on the grounds of irrelevance. The rationale? Eastman’s conduct occurred before the reports from these experts were written, so he couldn’t have relied on them.

“Valentine’s opinion… was not formed until he performed his voter roll investigations in February or March 2021, and therefore has no bearing on the analysis of whether Respondent had a tenable basis for a claim of voter fraud in the 2020 election,” she wrote.

“Fried’s book was published in 2022, well after the time period relevant to the charges in this case,” she continued. “Fried had no communication with Respondent—failing to demonstrate a connection between Fried’s findings and the actions of Respondent from November 2020 through January 6, 2021.”

Any evidence that Eastman’s claims became more credible as the evidence mounted post-January 6th was treated as irrelevant to the State Bar Court. One would assume that evidence suggesting Eastman’s claims became less credible as time went on would be similarly treated.

It was therefore surprising when on Thursday State Bar attorneys attempted to introduce a forensic audit report from Maricopa County – one that hadn’t been compiled until February 23, 2021, well after the conduct under examination took place.

Eastman’s attorney, Randall Miller, objected. “Are you prepared to take the position that any documents or information or evidence that postdates the January 6th, 2021 timeframe is not relevant?” asked Judge Roland. “I find that interesting. You have on your witness list many individuals who you have indicated you would intend to call to offer testimony about various events, situations, information, that definitely postdates that timeframe.”

Miller pointed out that Judge Roland had excluded Eastman’s witnesses for precisely that reason less than a week ago. “I don’t think that’s an accurate characterization… one of the key issues was that Mr. Valentine reached certain conclusions about which, as I recall, he had not even communicated to Dr. Eastman during the [relevant period].”

After Miller pointed out that Eastman could not possibly have relied on a Maricopa County report that didn’t exist at the time, Judge Roland asked Samuel Beckerman, attorney for the State Bar, to address the objection. “I think the clearest distinction here is we are presenting evidence from government officials,” Beckerman replied.

Miller asked what bearing the report could have if it didn’t exist until two months after the fact. “Well, we don’t know whether he was aware of it or not,” concluded Judge Roland. With the floodgates now apparently open, the State Bar attorneys scrambled to introduce additional pieces of evidence that had previously been off-limits.

In addition to Miller’s objections, about a half dozen other reports, including the Arizona Attorney General’s memorandum on election reliability from September 19, 2022, were introduced soon after. The California State Bar hearing for Dr. John Eastman is just the latest showcase of the inconsistencies and bias when it comes to anything related to the 2020 election.

The State Bar’s attorneys were also permitted to introduce late-stage evidence, but only when it painted the 2020 election as reliable, while Eastman was prevented from doing the same with evidence suggesting irregularities. The often repeated incantation of “no evidence of irregularity” becomes self-fulfilling when certain evidence is systematically excluded from consideration.

This narrative might seem comical if the stakes weren’t so high. Eastman, a renowned constitutional scholar, now stands at serious risk of losing his license to practice law for nothing more than representing a client the California State Bar dislikes.

The bedrock of America’s adversarial system of justice requires that everyone, independent of the prevailing public sentiment or popularity, has a right to petition the government for wrongdoing. The State Bar’s actions put that right in serious jeopardy. Only time will tell if they can correct course.


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