The judge overseeing John Eastman’s disbarment proceedings in California is granting a delay in proceedings, but only to accommodate the former Trump lawyer’s planned surrender to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia.
State Bar Court Judge Yvette Roland said she would cancel Tuesday and Wednesday’s court sessions in a new court order.
“Based on the recent email exchanges between and with the parties, the court is willing to make certain changes in this week’s trial schedule in order to accommodate Dr. Eastman’s surrender in Fulton County, Georgia,” she wrote.
“The court will vacate trial on Tuesday, August 22 and Wednesday, August 23, 2023,” Roland wrote in a separate order filed on Monday. “Trial will resume and go forward on Thursday, August 24 at 10:00 a.m. Trial will be held on Friday, August 25th as well.”
Eastman, one of the lawyers who played a central role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, is expected to surrender to Georgia authorities on Wednesday, according to court documents. He was one of the 18 others charged alongside Trump in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ lengthy indictment and is facing nine counts, including one for violating Georgia’s RICO Act.
His bond has been set at $100,000. And an agreement between the parties states Eastman needs to refrain from intimidating co-defendants or any witnesses in the case. Similarly Trump’s bond was set at $200,000 Monday and his agreement includes a ban on intimidating co-defendants, including via social media posts and reposts.
The two day pause in the disbarment trial comes weeks after Eastman asked the judge to postpone the ongoing State Bar proceedings against him in early August, arguing he was concerned that he’d soon be criminally charged by special counsel Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 case.
After being identified by journalists as an unnamed co-conspirator in Smith’s Trump indictment, Eastman’s legal team said if the Department of Justice files charges then the defendant might decide to assert his Fifth Amendment rights — which would allow him to refuse testimony that might be used against him — during his disbarment proceedings. But, the lawyers argued, invoking the Fifth Amendment in this trial would muddy Eastman’s ability to defend his law license.
The Trump lawyer has not been — at least for now — charged in Smith’s case. But days after his argument, he was hit with the Georgia indictment.
In response, the California Bar pushed back on Eastman’s argument, saying that recent criminal charges against him in Fulton County should not prevent disbarment proceedings from restarting this week.
The Bar argued that the trial should continue regardless because Eastman already waived his Fifth Amendment privilege when he started testifying in his disbarment case in June.
“Respondent has already testified regarding many of the issues in this case without asserting the Fifth Amendment,” the California State Bar wrote. “Because he elected to waive that right by answering questions, he has waived his Fifth Amendment rights regarding those topics and any testimony that might impeach the testimony he previously offered.”