Three lawsuits attempting to bankrupt a constitutional scholar for giving the prior Republican president legal advice will cost him $3 to $3.5 million, John Eastman said Friday. Eastman was a target of Democrats’ illegal Jan. 6 Committee and has been harassed by the FBI and courts since assisting Donald Trump in 2020 constitutional litigation.
“This is what I call the authoritarian moment in our history,” Eastman told reporter Julie Kelly and podcast cohost Liz Sheld. “The whole premise here is: ‘The government has spoken and you continue to say otherwise. Therefore you must be lying.'”
Eastman’s legal defense fund has raised more than half a million dollars so far, “less than a third of what we’ve already incurred and less than about a sixth or seventh of what we’re likely to incur before we’re done,” Eastman said. To defend himself legally in a Georgia prosecutor’s case against Trump and dozens of his associates, Eastman needs to raise $1 million by February, he said: “I’m trying very hard not to completely deplete my wife’s retirement fund.”
“When our founders pledged their lives and their fortunes and their sacred honors to create a government of a free people with free institutions, they put everything on the line,” he responded when Kelly asked how he and his wife are holding up. “And we are at a crossroads in our country on whether we’re going to go back to a tyrannical form of government where we are subjects, not free citizens, or whether we are going to fight like our forefathers fought and our foremothers fought, for liberty.”
“And so I happen to have been thrust into a role where I can participate in that fight, and I draw strength from that knowledge and from the people that lend support to us because they recognize how important the fight is.”
Spikes in the Driveway
For the last year, Eastman told Kelly and Sheld, protesters have stood at the end of their street. Unknown individuals kept burying four-inch spikes in their dirt driveway, Eastman said, which ruined multiple sets of tires until they spent “a lot of money” on a security system. They’ve had feces thrown onto their property and keep fielding nasty emails and phone calls. They’ve referred multiple threats to the state police and FBI, he said.
Besides the personal threats, Eastman is being targeted by three lawsuits as a result of giving legal advice to the last Republican president: a disbarment trial in California, the latest special counsel’s attempt to handicap Republicans in the 2024 elections, and the Georgia Trump trial. A Chapman University law professor for 20 years and law school dean for four, Eastman recently retired over colleagues’ smears.
In the last 20 years, he was involved in more than 200 major constitutional cases before the Supreme Court, including advising Florida’s Legislature on Bush v. Gore. Eastman is also a Claremont Institute legal scholar and former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, as well as an Eagle Scout, former Boy Scout troop leader, and former member of his church’s choir.
‘Front-and-Center Case’ on Election Disputes
California’s far-left bar association “made this the front-and-center case challenging all the election issues,” Eastman said. Witnesses have been affiliated with leftist projects to disbar all lawyers who provide a legal defense to conservatives. Those include The 65 Project, advised by Media Matters founder David Brock. Media Matters is infamous for media smear operations to erase conservatives’ participation in the public square, over which Elon Musk recently filed suit.
Brock told Axios The 65 Project would “not only bring the grievances in the bar complaints, but shame them and make them toxic in their communities and in their firms…You’re threatening their livelihood.” Besides targeting Eastman and the more than 100 lawyers who helped Republicans with election litigation in 2020, The 65 Project is pushing bar associations to disbar any lawyers who help Republicans in election-related litigation, Axios reported. The initiative has filed bar complaints against, among dozens of others, the Republican attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and more.
Notoriously leftist bar associations are using their licensing monopoly to deprive conservatives of high-quality counsel. Texas’ state bar is going after the state attorney general. The New York bar notoriously stripped Trump counsel Rudy Giuliani of his law license. The Arizona state bar is attempting to disbar a local prosecutor for charging Antifa rioters while hundreds of prosecutors filed no charges or only misdemeanors against the domestic terrorist organization.
Trampled Constitutional Law Questions
Eastman is primarily being targeted for his legal advice to Trump following the 2020 election. Mark Pulliam summarizes: “Eastman was the architect of a strategy to postpone the certification of electoral votes on January 6 pending a resolution of challenges in key states.”
The 2020 election turned on 10,000 to 20,000 vote differences each in three states: Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. For 2020, those states implemented brand new and, courts have subsequently ruled, at least partially illegal mass mail-in balloting systems. That means even statistically small numbers of illegal votes — such as those illegally harvested, not mailed by the legally required date, or not completed properly — easily could have tipped the election. Voters deserved to have such concerns investigated to maintain trust in the country’s electoral integrity, Eastman said.
When then-Vice President Mike Pence counted the electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, he had letters from more than 100 state lawmakers in swing states saying, “Our election was conducted so illegally, so contrary to the manner we had set out under our constitutional authority to do so, that these elections should not have been certified,” Eastman summarized. “We have been blocked by our governors not calling us into special session to deal with this in any formal way. Please give us a week or 10 days now that we’re back in formal session to conclude our investigations and to make our best judgment about what ought to be done about this illegality.”
With the majority of other constitutional scholars on this issue, Eastman believes “Pence had the authority. He didn’t want to exercise it.”
Contrary to media claims, Eastman said, he didn’t argue for Pence to “gavel Trump elected.” He argued for Pence to pause the certification for a week or two so state legislatures, to whom the Constitution gives full power to choose presidential electors, could decide how to address evidence of illegal voting within the election margin of error.
Politicians ‘Lie Straight Out of Their Face’
“We don’t live by fact anymore, we live by false narratives repeated over and over again until they look true because they’ve been repeated so often,” Eastman said of far-reaching false claims about his legal advice in 2020 election cases, which have resulted in not only his departure from his law school deanship but also losing multiple posts, including with the University of Colorado.
“I don’t mind having disagreements with people — I mean, that’s the nature of politics,” Eastman said. “What I do mind is that people, one, lie straight out of their face to you and, two, distort what you said in order to, you know, defame you. And his [Pence’s] team on this has done both.”
Voters seem to understand that, Eastman commented, because Pence was among the first to drop out of the 2024 presidential race despite significant support from establishment money. The same is true of unpopular candidates like Liz Cheney, Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley, he said.
Politicos “seem not to understand the disconnect between the political expert class who don’t know their butts from a hole in the ground and the rank-and-file Americans, who know more about the Constitution and the limitations on government and the notions of what freedom means and what a free people are willing to do to remain free than any of these jerks in Washington or the New York-D.C. corridor.”
Eastman’s legal team must file their closing briefs by Friday, Dec. 1. After that, the judge, who has a long history of donating to Democrats, has 90 days to issue her ruling. The judge cannot disbar him, but if she recommends his disbarment, his law license will be suspended during any appeals, Eastman said.
“We are living in George Orwell’s 1984: When the government says two plus two is five, you better not only repeat it but believe it or we’re going to destroy you,” he said.
This article has been corrected since publication.