The California State Bar on Thursday filed suit against attorney John Eastman for helping former President Donald Trump overturn the 2020 election, which could lead to his suspension, the latest in a slew of sentences the attorneys for the former president for representing or working directly with him.
John Eastman: Eastman had 11 charges brought against him by counsel for the California State Bar as a result of his efforts to challenge the election results, and the state bar plans to seek his suspension in court — and the attorney faces the possibility of criminal charges after the January 6 House The commission filed a criminal reference against him with the Justice Department in December.
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Rudy Giuliani: Giuliani, who led Trump’s post-election efforts, has already had his license suspended and proceedings are underway to determine whether he should be fully suspended; he has also been sued for defamation by voting machine companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic and has been identified as a target in the criminal investigation into the 2020 election in Fulton County, Georgia.
Sidney Powell: Powell, who did not directly represent Trump in court but did advise him after the election, also faces possible suspension from the State Bar of Texas, with a trial scheduled for April, along with libel lawsuits from Dominion and Smartmatic , a reported federal investigation into her organization’s fundraising arm and sanctions in a case she and her fellow Michigan counsel brought alleging election fraud.
Michael Cohen: Trump’s longtime attorney has served a three-year prison sentence and house arrest for tax evasion and campaign finance-related crimes after orchestrating a series of “hush money” payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal over allegations they had affairs with Trump.
Alina Habba: Habba, who represents Trump in many of his post-presidency legal battles, has been sanctioned multiple times in Trump’s failed lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, ordered to pay $50,000 in sanctions and $16,274 in attorney fees to one along with her co-lawyer. defendant in the case, then sanctioned in January for nearly $1 million to be paid to Clinton, her campaign and other Democratic operatives — the same punishment Trump faced.
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Jeffrey Clark: Former DOJ attorney Clark, who aided Trump’s post-election efforts from the agency, is being sued by the DC Bar, which filed a complaint against him in July 2022 and initiated legal proceedings that could lead to his being disbarred.
Cleta Mitchell: Mitchell, who participated in Trump’s call urging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s election results, resigned from her law firm Foley & Lardner in January 2021 and said she left the company because of a “huge campaign of pressure” against her from the left to impeach her for her associations with Trump.
Ongoing complaints: Ethics complaints urging state bars and disciplinary boards to investigate attorneys have been filed and remain pending against multiple Trump attorneys who assisted him in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including Mitchell, Jenna Ellis and Boris Epshteyn, though court documents show another complaint against Trump attorneys in New Mexico was dismissed.
Costs of the lawyer: Trump and his campaign have been ordered to pay attorney fees in a number of failed lawsuits — though it’s unclear if his attorneys have been forced to personally bear any portion of those costs — including more than $20,000 to two Georgia counties over post-election lawsuits . $1.3 million to former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault and more than $54,000 to Daniels.
What to watch out for
Eastman, Guiliani and Powell face suspension, or possibly less serious charges such as probation. The lawyers representing Trump in New York have been threatened with sanctions, while the lawyers representing Trump in the DOJ’s investigation of White House documents stored at Mar-A-Lago may also face legal liability in that research.
A number of lawyers who aided Trump in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, but did not directly represent him in court or advise him, have also been disciplined. Powell’s co-lawyer in the Michigan case — in which Trump was not a plaintiff — were all sanctioned and collectively forced to pay more than $175,000 in attorney fees, as well as ordered to receive legal training and referred to their respective state bars for possible disciplinary action. Attorney Lin Wood, who was involved in the Michigan lawsuit, along with other post-election lawsuits, is already under investigation by the State Bar of Georgia for his efforts even before the warrant was issued in Michigan. That has been confirmed by the Georgia Bar Forbes in December that the case against Wood remains pending, and that this could lead to his suspension. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was also sued in May by state bar disciplinary counsel over the lawsuit he filed with the Supreme Court to overturn the election.
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Trump’s lawyers have largely denied wrongdoing and opposed efforts to punish them, with the exception of Cohen, who pleaded guilty to his crimes. Eastman’s attorney Randall A. Miller said in a statement Thursday that Eastman disputes “every aspect” of the action filed against him by the [California] State Bar,” claiming the move was part of a “nationwide effort … to penalize attorneys who oppose the current administration” in the 2020 election and Americans “should suffer from this politicization of the state bars of our country’.
After the court ordered sanctions in the Clinton case against Trump and Habba, Trump and Habba voluntarily dropped two cases arising from James’ lawsuit against the Trump Organization that the courts had suggested could be considered frivolous and could lead to sanctions.
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Trump and his allies filed about 60 lawsuits in the aftermath of the 2020 election to change the outcome, eventually losing all but one case, which was a minor dispute in Pennsylvania that did not affect the overall results. Since leaving office, Trump is still deeply mired in legal issues as he has faced numerous lawsuits over his alleged role in the January 6 riot at the Capitol, ongoing federal and provincial investigations into the 2020 election , the DOJ’s investigation into the documents at Mar-A-Lago, James’ lawsuit against the Trump Organization, a Manhattan investigation into his and his company’s financial dealings, and a defamation lawsuit against writer E. Jean Carroll, among other lawsuits. None of those lawsuits have so far resulted in charges against Trump — though it’s too soon to say if he could face charges in the ongoing investigations against him — and Trump has broadly maintained that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.