Judge halts disbarment trial of Trump lawyer John Eastman to rebuke Steve Bannon for livestreaming it

The former White House chief strategist broadcasted expert witness testimony on his podcast

Louise Whitbread
Friday 15 September 2023 15:17 BST
<p>Eastman is facing charges for allegedly advising former Vice President Mike Pence to interefere with the 2020 election  </p>

Eastman is facing charges for allegedly advising former Vice President Mike Pence to interefere with the 2020 election

California State Bar Court Judge Yvette Roland paused proceedings during Trump’s former attorney John Eastman’s disbarment trial on September 14 to admonish Steve Bannon for livestreaming it.

During expert witness testimony, Judge Roland said to the court, “I’m going to take just a minute to inform everyone about something that I just learned about, and that is that I’ve been informed that the Bannon War Room is live-streaming this proceeding.”

He continued: “And I think I made it very clear at the outset that no one is to live stream the proceeding, that individuals may have access through a public link on the State Bar Court website.”

Steve Bannon has yet to respond to Judge Roland’s comments. Mr Eastman’s own attorneys stated that had “no knowledge” it was being broadcast.

He is currently facing 11 disciplinary charges in the State Bar Court of California for allegedly writing a six-page memo strategising how former Vice President Mike Pence could interfere with the 2020 presidential election.

Prosecutors are also seeking to prove that he “engaged in a course of conduct to plan, promote, and assist Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results”.

Mr Eastman has disputed claims made by prosecutors that he told Mr Pence he could reject slates of electors in Georgia during a meeting on 4 January 2021, between the two men and former President Donald Trump.

This is despite Greg Jacobs, counsel to Mr Pence and Marc Short, former chief of staff for Mr Pence’s office, testifying that Mr Eastman did in fact recommend this to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

John Eastman’s mug shot after surrendering to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia last month

Duncan Carling, trial counsel for the California State Bar, has stated that Mr Eastman “claimed there is historical precedent in early American history” to justify his actions. However, Mr Trumps’ former lawyer said he “does not recall” making a statement. Eastman has voluntarily waived his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Expert witness Matthew Seligman, a lawyer who specialises in election law, has testified that “there is no historical precedent”.

Mr Eastman also made headlines following a TV interview with Fox News on 30 August in which he appeared to admit live on air that he is guilty of one of the 11 charges he is currently facing.

While he insisted he and the former president are innocent, when asked by host Laura Ingraham asked what his “constitutional” plan was on 6 January 2021, he said he tried to stop the certification of the election results and encourage Mr Pence to prevent Congress from certifying them for a further week.

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