PLEADING THE FIFTH: Former Trump attorney John Eastman refuses to answer grand jury questions
Former Trump lawyer John Eastman pled the Fifth Amendment today in a Georgia courtroom. Subpoenaed to testify before the special grand jury in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation into attempts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results, Eastman invoked his right against self-incrimination.
According to Eastman attorneys, Charles Burnham and Harvey Silverglate, Eastman asserted his constitutional right “where appropriate,” Politico reported. “Out of respect for grand jury secrecy we will not disclose the substance of the questions or testimony,” the lawyers said.
On their law firm’s official website, Burnham and Silverglate equated their client Eastman to “celebrated American lawyers,” like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thurgood Marshall, and founding father John Adams, writing:
“By all indications, the District Attorney’s Office has set itself on an unprecedented path of criminalizing controversial or disfavored legal theories, possibly in hopes that the federal government will follow its lead. Criminalization of unpopular legal theories is against every American tradition and would have ended the careers of John Adams, Ruth Ginsburg, Thurgood Marshall and many other now-celebrated American lawyers. We ask all interested observers of any political persuasion to join us in decrying this troubling development.”
Trump lawyer John Eastman appeared before the Fulton County grand jury today and pleaded the fifth, according to a statement from his lawyers. He also asserted attorney-client privilege. pic.twitter.com/Z7YF2b2Tm9
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) August 31, 2022
This isn’t Eastman’s first time testifying (or invoking the Fifth amendment) in a probe related to the 2020 election. His actions preceding the 2021 Capitol attack earned the disgraced lawman an appearance before the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6th – where Eastman pled the Fifth nearly 150 times.
With Eastman being a speaker at the Ellipse on the day of the Capitol riot and a suspected coup co-conspirator, his attorneys tried to block the release of almost 20,000 emails sent using his Chapman University email account. After being denied a presidential pardon, Eastman refused to answer questions related to the attack, per Select Committee member Pete Aguilar.
“Dr. Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him,” Eastman’s lawyer, Charles Burnham, told the House Select Committee in a letter on Wednesday, according to The Independent. “However, a federal judge on Monday ordered Dr. Eastman to respond to another committee subpoena – one sent to his former employer, Chapman University,” the newspaper reported.
The District Judge presiding over the case, Mary Marlowe Sommer, said that “judicial records proved that Eastman spoke with Georgia lawmakers about the 2020 election, and crafting the memos mentioning Georgia to the president.” Appearing virtually, Judge Sommer says there’s a “logical correlation” between Eastman’s involvement and the case, Raw Story reported.
Multiple local and federal investigations surrounding the 2020 election are currently ongoing. Federal investigators recently seized Eastman’s phone, thousands of emails have been ordered turned over to respective investigating bodies, and, with Trump seemingly on his way to an indictment, Eastman’s time on the outside may be running short.
Perhaps he and his former boss can bunk together in federal prison.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
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