On the first day of its new term, the Supreme Court denied an effort by attorney John Eastman to appeal a ruling that he may have acted criminally in giving legal advice to former President Trump.
Eastman is facing potential disbarment in California for what prosecutors in that state called a baseless theory and false claims of fraud by the attorney, who authored the failed fake electors plan to overturn the 2020 Presidential election in Trump’s favor.
A federal judge in that state found that Eastman, as well as Trump, “more likely than not” engaged in criminal conduct in the hatching of a plan to overturn the then-President’s loss of the 2020 election, including a memo urging then-Vice President Pence to not do his duty to certify the election results on January 6, 2021.
Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife, Ginni Thomas, corresponded with Eastman in the weeks leading up to January 6, recused himself from Monday’s Supreme Court decision.
It’s something of a turnaround for Justice Thomas who did not recuse himself when Trump asked the Court to block the House Select January 6 Committee from gaining access to his White House records in 2021, even though Ginni Thomas had been questioned by that committee about her involvement in the events of that day, including the deadly insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.
When the Supreme Court declined to block release of the documents, Thomas was the only Justice who dissented, siding with Trump.
The order says that Thomas “took no part in the consideration” of Eastman’s petition.
The Supreme Court’s rejection of Eastman’s appeal was his last effort to fight a ruling ordering him to release his communications surrounding January 6 to the now-dissolved House select committee.
A ruling from U.S. District Judge David Carter had ordered release of Eastman’s records, overruling Eastman’s claims of attorney-client privilege amid the alleged furtherance of a crime. “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” wrote Carter, a Clinton appointee.
Along with Trump, Eastman is also one of 19 co-defendants, including former President Trump, who were indicted by a grand jury last month related to attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election, following a more than two-year investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Eastman faces nine criminal counts linked to the Georgia probe, including racketeering.