Facing disbarment in California, former Trump attorney John Eastman now has all the motivation in the world to save himself what little money he may have left and try to get some kind of deal.
He would certainly be a good “get” for Fanni Willis but perhaps even a bigger one for Jack Smith, who has the case centered in Washington DC, where Eastman did the most damage.
So far, Smith has only indicted Donald Trump in Washington, but nothing is preventing him from indicting co-conspirators later on.
This is the natural fallout from the disbarment proceedings in California. Attorneys almost automatically face disbarment for committing a crime involving “moral turpitude” — a fancy way of saying being fraudulent or lying.
From a Newsweek report:
“The decision from State Bar Court Judge Yvette Roland on the 32nd day of the trial does not mean that Eastman has been found to have committed the 11 disciplinary charges related to his “false and misleading statements” regarding election fraud allegations, but is one step closer to being suspended or disbarred from practice, as sought by prosecutors. Reacting to the ruling, former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance suggested that Eastman may now be the next person to cooperate against the former president in a criminal case.”
Certainly, no attorney wants to be disbarred, but if he no longer has to negotiate around the moral turpitude crimes, Eastman might get a lesser crime or charge with which to plead.
Eastman could well flip on Trump in the Washington DC case. U.S. District Judge David Carter has already ruled that he pierced the attorney-client privilege due to the crime-fraud exception. It is a bad thing when a judge sees a crime sitting in front of her or him.
The Newsweek article focuses primarily on the Georgia RICO case — likely because that is where Eastman has already been charged.
But we have already seen that Smith is making deals under the radar, and Eastman is likely more valuable to Smith than even to Willis in Georgia.
Of course, he’s valuable to both, but Smith is focused on the whole process by which Trump came to believe he had a shot of overturning Biden’s victory on January 6th, and that can be traced directly to Eastman.
We know that Judge Carter thinks that Eastman and Trump conspired together, and that ruling occurred in October 2022 when Georgia hadn’t even yet charged Trump.
Judge Carter was likely looking solely at a case to be brought in Washington.
It is now incumbent on Eastman to strike a deal in both Washington and Georgia, ideally with the same charge and same punishment to run concurrently.
It is unlikely that Eastman will get a deal that won’t involve prison time. He was just too central to the conspiracy.
Although the same could be said of Sidney Powell, the first ones to flip get the better deals.
Big picture, Mark Meadows is the biggest flip. ABC News reports that at a minimum, Meadows has “use immunity,” meaning that nothing to which he testified can be used against him if he’s charged, though there’s been some uncertainty as to the extent of Meadows’s immunity.
Other than Meadows, one has to think that Eastman and Giuliani are the two biggest “gets” left.
Eastman probably should get on the phone with his attorney.
This column is based primarily on original reporting by Evan Palmer of Newsweek
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Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.