The former law school dean and professor who worked for President Donald J. Trump after the 2020 election to resolve irregularities through legal and congressional remedies responded to his Aug. 14 indictment by a Fulton County grand jury.
“The indictment in Georgia versus Donald Trump and 18 others sets out activity that is political, but not criminal,” said John C. Eastman, who left his professorship at Chapman University’s Fowler Law School Jan. 13, 2021, under pressure from members of the campus community traumatized by the Jan. 6, 2021, protests in Washington.
In the statement released by his attorneys, Eastman said that the Constitution protected his activities:
“It goes hand-in-glove with the recent effort to criminalize lawful political speech and legal advice, in stark violation of constitutional rights to Freedom of Speech, Right to Petition the Government for Redress of Grievances, and the Right to Counsel.”
Eastman also said the charges against him were an assault on the practice of law:
“Lawyers everywhere should be sleepless over this latest stunt to criminalize their advocacy. This is a legal cluster-bomb that leaves unexploded ordinance for lawyers to navigate in perpetuity.”
Eastman’s legal team also confirmed to RedState that they are preparing a supplementary presentation, seeking a delay in Eastman’s ethic trial with the California Bar Association.
The retired professor is one of Trump’s 18 co-defendants, charged with nine of the 41 counts all laid out in a 98-page indictment released by Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis.
Willis told reporters at her Aug. 14 witching hour press conference that she intended to try all 19 defendants at one trial and would request the trial begin in six months.
This intention and timetable are not determined by Willis alone, and several defendants are expected to petition the court to have their trial severed from the main trial.
At issue was the effort by members of Trump and his staffers and lawyers to secure Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, or to dismiss the state’s 16 electors committed to Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Willis used the state’s Racketeering and Criminal Organization, or RICO, statutes to indict the 19 together, arguing that they were collectively part of a criminal enterprise.
The enterprise constituted an ongoing organization whose members and associates functioned as a continuing unit to achieve the enterprise’s objectives. The enterprise operated in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, in other states, including, but not limited to, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and in the District of Columbia. The enterprise operated for a period of time sufficient to permit its members and associates to pursue its objectives.
The RICO statutes also allow Willis to reach outside Fulton County and even Georgia, including seemingly legal activity as evidence of enterprise. There are a total of 161 criminal acts cited in the indictment.
Here are three examples of the acts cited by Willis involving Eastman.
Act 39 cites Eastman for sending a Dec. 7, 2020, email to co-defendant Rudy Guiliani with a memo describing the effort to arrange an alternative set of electors in Wisconsin.
Act 44 cites Eastman for calling Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to ask her help setting up alternative electors in contested states.
Act 123 cites Eastman for meeting with co-defendant Trump, Vice President Michael R. Pence and Pence staffers, where Eastman presented his legal theory that the vice president while presiding over the certification of the Electoral College results, had the authority to reject a contested state’s slate of electors.
Each of the 161 acts concludes, with some slight variations, the phrase: “This was an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
The indictment could have been complete with a few pages, but Willis released a so-called “speaking indictment.”
A speaking indictment provides the prosecutor’s narrative and enters the public domain with unchallenged evidence and testimony before the trial.