Trump Case in Georgia Has 'Profound Consequences' on Justice System: Co-defendant

John Eastman said he believes the 2020 election was stolen and that he and other defendants will be "fully vindicated."
Trump Case in Georgia Has 'Profound Consequences' on Justice System: Co-defendant
John Eastman (L), former attorney and adviser for former President Donald Trump, speaks with reporters along with his attorney, L. David Wolfe, outside the Fulton County Jail on Aug. 22, 2023, in a still from video. (NTD/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Janice Hisle

ATLANTA—The Georgia prosecution of former President Donald Trump and his allies is an attempt "to criminalize our rights" to listen to an attorney's advice about lawful remedies for challenging an election, says attorney John Eastman, one of President Trump's 18 co-defendants.

The case is already having "profound consequences for our system of justice," he told reporters on Aug. 22 outside the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta.

Mr. Eastman was one of the first two defendants to surrender after being accused in an Aug. 14 indictment (pdf). The second co-defendant who was booked on Aug. 22 was bail bondsman Scott Hall. He posted $10,000 bond.
Bond amounts had been set for a dozen of the 19 defendants. All are accused of committing crimes in connection with disputing the 2020 election results in Georgia. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to illegally keep President Trump in office by knowingly making false claims of election fraud.
But on Aug. 22, when a reporter asked Mr. Eastman if he continues to believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, he replied: "Absolutely. ... No question. No question in my mind." Likewise, President Trump has made similar statements.

Stolen-Election Claim Believed

In a new poll, a majority of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers say they, too, believe that President Trump was the rightful victor of the 2020 election, not Democrat Joe Biden. About 51 percent of Iowans expressed that opinion in an NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey (pdf) released on Aug. 22, the same day that Mr. Eastman was booked on 10 charges and posted $100,000 bond.

“My legal team and I will vigorously contest every count of the indictment in which I have been named, and also every count in which others are named, for which my knowledge of the relevant facts, law, and constitutional provisions may prove helpful," Mr. Eastman told reporters.

He added: "I am confident that when the law is faithfully applied in this proceeding, all of my co-defendants and I will be fully vindicated."

The remaining 17 co-defendants, including President Trump, have been given a deadline of noon on Aug. 25 to surrender or face being arrested. President Trump has said he will present himself at the jail on Aug. 24.

Fellow Republican presidential candidates will engage in the first debate of the 2024 campaign on Aug. 23. President Trump, the runaway favorite to win the GOP nomination to challenge the Democrats' presidential nominee, has stated that he intends to skip the debate, which will be televised on Fox News.

Democrats Versus Republican Front Runner

President Trump has also alleged that his presumed political opponent, President Biden, is working in concert with other Democrats to hobble his presidential campaign—an allegation that President Biden denies.

President Trump has now been indicted in four different cases. Two of them were brought by President Biden's Department of Justice. Two others have been brought by state-level prosecutors, both of whom are Democrats, in New York and Georgia.

In the wake of the indictments, 65 percent of Iowans in the NBC survey said they believe President Trump committed no serious crimes.

The Georgia indictment differs from the other cases because it involves the most defendants. Many of the 18 alleged co-conspirators served as attorneys or advisers for President Trump.

Mr. Eastman, a former law school dean at Chapman University in Orange County, California, advanced the legal theory that former Vice President Mike Pence was empowered to delay the certification of the hotly contested election. Lawmakers from several states made that request. But Mr. Pence refused, resulting in President Biden being certified as the winner in January 2021.

Mr. Pence, who is now running for president against President Trump, has denounced the election-fraud claims. But on Aug. 22, Mr. Eastman noted that Mr. Pence previously had described "serious allegations of voting irregularities, and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law" during the 2020 election season.

 President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Washington on Jan. 11, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Washington on Jan. 11, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

No Judge Reviewed Evidence

An attorney representing Mr. Eastman, L. David Wolfe, says a judge was never assigned to review a lawsuit that contested the Georgia election results, so the evidence was never probed.

Mr. Wolfe said President Trump was on a fact-finding mission when he made a now-infamous phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021. During the call, President Trump told Mr. Raffensperger, the state's top election official, that he wanted to "find" enough votes to overcome the margin of victory tabulated for then-President-elect Joe Biden.

Some people have interpreted that phone call as an effort to pressure Mr. Raffensperger to concoct an undeserved victory for President Trump. But Mr. Wolfe said President Trump made the call "in an attempt to get to the specifics" that Mr. Raffensperger possessed regarding miscast votes, as a lawsuit alleged.

“There are defenses" to the charges that Mr. Eastman and the other co-defendants face, Mr. Wolfe said, adding that "there are specific allegations that we attempted to get addressed in the lawsuit that was filed."

 Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot counting in Atlanta on Nov. 6, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot counting in Atlanta on Nov. 6, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Right to Challenge

Those defenses include "the law and the rightful opportunities that we had to challenge the numbers, and to determine whether or not there were more miscast votes than the margin of victory," Mr. Wolfe said.

"When we kept attempting to get the official statistics, as opposed to the ones that we extrapolated from past elections, we were unable to do that," he said.

After the proof is revealed in court, Mr. Wolfe said he is confident that his client "will be absolved."

In addition to being charged in the Georgia case, Mr. Eastman faces a disbarment trial in California. That proceeding, which is also related to Mr. Eastman's challenge of the 2020 election, was put on hold temporarily so he could travel to Georgia.

The case is scheduled to resume Aug. 24–25. Additional dates are set for next month.

Janice Hisle reports on former President Donald Trump's campaign for the 2024 general election ballot and related issues. Before joining The Epoch Times, she worked for more than two decades as a reporter for newspapers in Ohio and authored several books. She is a graduate of Kent State University's journalism program. You can reach Janice at: [email protected]