Greg Jacob — former attorney for then-Vice President Mike Pence — might play a key role in the California State Bar’s inquiry into ex-Trump attorney John Eastman for his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections.
In hearings that kicked off Tuesday afternoon, Eastman will be subject to several days of ethics proceedings this week in Los Angeles to decide whether he should keep his license to practice law in California. Eastman himself is expected to testify today.
The Trump-allied lawyer — who infamously argued that then-Vice President Pence could reject electors from contested states in an effort to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory — is facing 11 disciplinary charges that allege he violated the California State Bar’s business and professions code by making false and misleading statements that constitute acts of “moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption.”
Trump, at the time, seized on Eastman’s unfounded claims about Pence’s ability to subvert the election results, and his efforts to pressure Pence to not certify the election played a part in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The California State Bar alleges that Eastman “violated this duty in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land — an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy.”
Over the next several days, the State Bar Court of California will hear testimony from a number of witnesses to decide if Eastman should keep his license to practice law in the state, including Jacob, who, in the days leading up to Jan. 6, pushed back on the Trump argument that Pence had the power to stop the certification of the 2020 election as he presided over the Senate.
Last year, Jacob testified in front of the Jan. 6 House select committee about his efforts to sway Trump and other allies away from Eastman’s unfounded theories, slamming Eastman in the process.
“Our review of text, history, and frankly just common sense all confirmed the Vice President’s first instinct on that point. There is no justifiable basis to conclude that the Vice President has that kind of authority,” Jacob told the committee during his public testimony.
Jacob also testified that Eastman believed there were two options for Pence to overturn the election.
“One of them was that he could reject electoral votes outright. The other was that he could use his capacity as presiding officer to suspend the proceedings and declare essentially a 10 day recess during which states that he deemed to be disputed … [can] reexamine the election and declare who had won each of those states,” Jacob testified.
Jacob also testified that Eastman acknowledged to Trump and others in an Oval Office meeting that his strategy violated the Electoral Count Act and was illegal.
“I raised the problem that both of Mr. Eastman’s proposals would violate several provisions of the Electoral Count Act. Mr. Eastman acknowledged that that was the case, that even what he viewed as the more politically palatable option would violate several provisions. But he thought that we could do so because in his view the Electoral Act was unconstitutional,” Jacob said.
It is unclear when exactly Jacob will appear this week, but lawyers began making opening statements Tuesday afternoon and Eastman is expected to testify in his own defense.
An Eastman attorney previously said his client disputes “every aspect” of the allegations.
The State Bar’s action “is part of a nationwide effort to use the bar discipline process to penalize attorneys who opposed the current administration in the last presidential election. Americans of both political parties should be troubled by this politicization of our nation’s state bars,” Eastman attorney, Randall A. Miller, said in a January statement, according to the Associated Press.