February 24, 2024
He’s expected later face a judge to be arraigned in the sprawling racketeering case brought last week.

By KATE BRUMBACK | Associated Press

ATLANTA — John Eastman, the conservative attorney who pushed a plan to keep Donald Trump in power, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday on charges in the Georgia case alleging an illegal plot to overturn the former president’s 2020 election loss.

Eastman was booked at the Fulton County jail before being released by authorities. He’s expected later face a judge to be arraigned in the sprawling racketeering case brought last week.

Eastman is charged alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 others, who are accused by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis of scheming to subvert the will of Georgia voters in a desperate bid to keep Democrat Joe Biden out of the White House.

RELATED: Trump indictment makes clear ‘Co-Conspirator 2’ is ex-Chapman Law dean John Eastman

Eastman, a former dean of Chapman University law school in Southern California, was a close adviser to Trump in the run-up to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters intent on halting the certification of Biden’s electoral victory.

Eastman wrote a memo laying out steps Vice President Mike Pence could take to interfere in the counting of electoral votes while presiding over Congress’ joint session on Jan. 6 in order to keep Trump in office.

The indictment alleges that Eastman and others pushed to put in place a slate of “alternate” electors falsely certifying that Trump won, and tried to pressure Pence into rejecting or delaying the counting of legitimate electoral votes for Biden.

Eastman’s legal team has said the indictment “sets out activity that is political, but not criminal.”

“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,” his attorneys said in a statement.

Eastman is also facing possible disbarment in California over his efforts to meddle in the election.

Trump has any denied any wrongdoing, and characterized the case — and three others he faces — as an effort to hurt his 2024 campaign for president.

Former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark and former Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer, who were indicted last week along with former President Donald Trump, have filed paperwork to transfer the case to federal court.

Lawyers for Clark argued in a court filing Monday that he was a high-ranking Justice Department official and the actions described in the indictment “relate directly to his work at the Justice Department as well as with the former President of the United States.” Shafer’s attorneys argued that his conduct “stems directly from his service as a Presidential Elector nominee.”

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows last week made similar arguments in a federal court filing, saying his actions were taken in service to his White House role.

Clark was a staunch supporter of Trump’s false claims of election fraud and in December 2020 presented colleagues with a draft letter pushing Georgia officials to convene a special legislative session on the election results, according to testimony before the U.S. House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Clark wanted the letter sent, but Justice Department superiors refused.

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Shafer was one of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate declaring falsely that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors even though Joe Biden had won the state and a slate of Democratic electors was certified.

Separately, bail bondsman Scott Hall, who was accused of participating in a breach of election equipment in rural Coffee County, turned himself in to the Fulton County Jail on Tuesday morning. His bond was set at $10,000.