A lawyer who represented the Trump campaign in a legal challenge to the Pennsylvania election results was forced out of his post last week as a law professor at Chapman University in California for representing President Donald Trump as a client.
But what especially earned the ire of left-wing activists at the famous conservative legal scholar’s school was that John C. Eastman spoke alongside the president at the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington. Violence began at the U.S. Capitol during certification of the presidential election results while the rally was still going on at the other end of the Washington Mall. There is no evidence that Eastman, or Trump, did anything unlawful by speaking at the rally.
Nevertheless, Chapman University President Daniele Struppa promptly denounced Eastman for engaging in constitutionally protected free speech. Struppa accused Eastman in a Jan. 8 statement of playing “a role in the tragic events in Washington, D.C., that jeopardized our democracy.”
“Eastman’s actions are in direct opposition to the values and beliefs of our institution. He has now put Chapman in the position of being publicly disparaged for the actions of a single faculty member, and for what many call my failure to punish and fire him,” Struppa wrote.
Struppa also said, “This week has also demonstrated that this country has a great deal of work to do for social justice and equity.”
Lisa Leitz, a professor of peace studies at Chapman, was one of 169 faculty members who signed an open letter addressed to the university demanding Eastman be fired. She told a local media outlet that Eastman’s appearance at the rally and his Trump campaign activities have damaged the university.
“It associates us with a racist insurrection against the U.S. democracy, and it undermines the credibility of every faculty member,” she said.
On Jan. 13, Struppa announced that a settlement had been reached with Eastman and that he would be leaving his post “effective immediately.”
Struppa wrote that Eastman’s departure “closes this challenging chapter for Chapman and provides the most immediate and certain path forward for both the Chapman community and Dr. Eastman.”
“Chapman and Dr. Eastman have agreed not to engage in legal actions of any kind, including any claim of defamation that may currently exist, as both parties move forward,” he wrote.
“The university is not able to comment further on the specifics of confidential personnel matters and will make no further statements on this matter.”
In a statement the next day, Eastman accused members of the university’s board of trustees of publishing “false, defamatory statements about me without even the courtesy of contacting me beforehand to discuss.”
“Had they bothered to discuss the matter with me, they could have learned that every statement I have made is backed up with documentary and/or expert evidence, and solidly grounded in law,” Eastman wrote.
Eastman’s lawsuit that drew political heat was one of several legal challenges to election results in multiple states brought by Trump’s campaign and Trump supporters. With just over a week before Inauguration Day, the Supreme Court on Jan. 11 threw out a number of requests for expedited consideration of the claims. The case, known as Trump v. Boockvar, is still pending in the high court.
Intimidating lawyers has become an important weapon in the left’s arsenal in the Trump era.
For example, the Lincoln Project, a super PAC founded by Republicans opposed to Trump, has targeted lawyers for harassment for providing legal services to the Trump campaign.
In November, it pledged to spend a minimum of $500,000 on advertising attacking the law firms of Jones Day and Porter Wright Morris and Arthur for representing Trump and the Pennsylvania Republican Party, a legal publication reported.
“These firms are architecting Donald Trump’s unwarranted and dangerous attacks on our democracy. … Their employees should resign in protest,” the group wrote in a tweet.
The Lincoln Project doxxed the lawyers of both firms on Twitter, posting their LinkedIn pages and the names and contact information of attorneys helping Trump.
On Jan. 3, the Lincoln Project urged Twitter users to call attorney Cleta Mitchell’s Milwaukee “home office” because she was on the conference call with Trump “when he threatened & pressured [Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger] to overturn the will of Georgia voters.”
“How does that make you feel? Tell them,” the tweet states.
In fact, Trump didn’t demand that Raffensperger, a Republican, tamper with election results or threaten him. A leaked recording of the Jan. 2 telephone call revealed that Trump merely informed the state official of how many votes he needed to secure Georgia’s electoral votes.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Trump said on the legally privileged call that was an attempt to settle ongoing litigation.
Despite an absence of evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a constitutional requirement for impeachment, on Jan. 13 Democrats rammed through an article of impeachment based on the phone call, approving it 232–197 in the U.S. House of Representatives without the customary committee hearings.
Mitchell was forced out from her law firm, Foley and Lardner, where she was a partner.
The New York State Bar Association is considering disbarring Trump lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Democrats have also said they may press to have pro-Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood disciplined.
Contacted by The Epoch Times, Eastman commented briefly.
“I can’t talk about the agreement other than what is in my statement and the University’s statement,” he said.
“But yes—I think there are reprisals.”
This article by Matthew Vadum appeared Jan. 17, 2021, in The Epoch Times.
Note: This article was cited in an American Thinker article by Thomas Lifson on Jan. 18, 2021.