Trump Has ‘Plenty to Worry About’ After Eastman Ruling: Legal Analyst

Legal analyst Jennifer Rubin wrote in an opinion column on Sunday that Donald Trump has “plenty to worry about” after Wednesday’s ruling by a California state bar court that recommended John Eastman, Trump’s former attorney, be stripped of his law license.

The ruling was issued by Judge Yvette Roland following a complaint against Eastman from the California State Bar in 2023. Roland concluded Eastman was culpable on 10 out of the 11 counts filed against him in his alleged efforts to help overturn Trump’s 2020 presidential election defeat and should be disbarred for “misconduct.”

Roland’s recommendation now goes before the California Supreme Court for a final ruling. Eastman, a close Trump ally, has condemned the judge’s recommendation and vowed to appeal it.

In an opinion column published Sunday by The Washington Post, Rubin pointed to the “devastating factual findings and airtight legal analysis” in Roland’s 128-page ruling.

Former President Donald Trump is seen on Thursday in Massapequa, New York. John Eastman sits in Fulton Superior Court in Atlanta during a hearing on January 19, 2023. Legal analyst Jennifer Rubin wrote in an…

AFP/Getty Images

“On matters of law, Roland wrote that while attorneys have a First Amendment right ‘to make statements in public in the course of their professional duties…this right does not extend to making knowing or reckless false statements of fact or law.’ She added, ‘Likewise, the First Amendment does not protect speech that is employed as a tool in the commission of a crime,'” Rubin, who is also a contributor on MSNBC, wrote.

Rubin added that since the First Amendment defense did not protect Eastman, the same could happen to Trump amid his defenses. She noted that Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s First Amendment defense in Jack Smith’s federal election case and that Judge Scott McAfee “sounded appropriately skeptical” of First Amendment defenses by Trump’s legal team in the Georgia election interference case. The former president has maintained his innocence in those cases.

“In sum, Roland’s decision does not bode well for Eastman in his criminal case in Georgia. And insofar as Trump is likely to face much of the same evidence and to offer the same defenses, he has plenty to worry about in D.C. and Georgia. No one, it seems is buying their excuses,” Rubin wrote in her column.

Eastman, meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces in the Georgia election interference case.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s office for comment via email on Sunday afternoon. This story will be updated with any provided statements.

Rubin also quoted a portion of Roland’s ruling, calling it “damning” for the former president:

“The evidence clearly and convincingly proves that Eastman and President Trump entered into an agreement to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress by unlawfully having Vice President Pence reject or delay the counting of electoral votes on January 6, 2021. …Upon consideration of the totality of the facts, the court finds weighty circumstantial evidence demonstrating a collaborative effort between Eastman and President Trump to impede the counting of elector votes on January 6, 2021, as articulated in Eastman’s memos.”

Eastman is also an unnamed co-conspirator in Smith’s election interference case, but he has not been charged.

Roland’s Eastman ruling comes amid a slew of civil and criminal legal cases aimed at some of the leading figures in Trump’s alleged bid to overturn his 2020 presidential election defeat to Joe Biden. The former president and 2024 presumptive Republican presidential nominee has repeatedly insisted the election was rigged against him via widespread voter fraud, though this has been repeatedly rejected in court and by independent election observers.

Rubin noted in her opinion column other Trump lawyers that have also faced disciplinary action, including Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis.

On Tuesday, officials with the Washington D.C. Bar’s Board of Professional Responsibility argued that former Trump lawyer Jeffrey Clark should possibly have his legal license removed for his efforts in allegedly assisting Trump in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Update 3/31/24, 4:04 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.