One of Donald Trump’s co-defendants in the Georgia election-interference case may have shot himself in the foot after he appeared to make a bombshell confession in a recent TV interview.
John Eastman, one of the 19 defendants in the sprawling 41-count indictment brought in Fulton County, appeared on Fox News on Wednesday night where he denied all wrongdoing and insisted he and the former president are innocent of all charges.
But, in his interview defending himself in the case, the attorney actually made a shock admission which legal experts say amounted to him confessing to a crime.
When host Laura Ingraham asked what his “constitutional” plan was on 6 January 2021 — as Mr Trump and his allies sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election — Mr Eastman admitted that he tried to stop the certification of the election results and wanted then-Vice President Mike Pence to at least halt Congress from certifying them for a week.
“Some people had urged that Vice President Pence simply had power to reject electors whose certification was still pending,” he said.
“I explicitly told Vice President Pence in the Oval Office on January 4, that even though it was an open issue, under the circumstances we had I thought it was the weaker argument, and it would be foolish to exercise such power.
“What I recommended, and I’ve said this repeatedly, is that he accede to requests from more than 100 state legislators in the swing states, to give them a week to try and sort out the impact of what everybody acknowledged was illegality in the conduct of the election.”
His response left many legal experts baffled — as it appeared that the attorney admitted live on air that he was guilty of one of the crimes with which he is charged.
Bradley P. Moss, an attorney specialising in national security, posted a clip of the interview on X/Twitter, saying: “He literally just confessed to the crime.”
Georgia State University law professor Anthony Michael Kreis said that Mr Eastman was “admitting to committing federal crimes on television” in his comments.
“John Eastman, on trial for trying to impede the certification of presidential electors, admits on Fox that he explicitly wanted to impede the certification of presidential electors,” chimed in Democratic strategist Max Burns.
Meanwhile, the Lincoln Project’s George Conway, a lawyer and avid anti-Trump Republican, tweeted: “Pro legal tip: If you’ve been indicted for doing something, don’t talk about that something on TV.”
Mr Eastman — a former attorney for Mr Trump, former dean of Chapman University’s law school and former law clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — was hit with nine charges in the sprawling indictment, which accuses the former president and his group of allies of running a criminal enterprise to keep him in power at all costs.
Mr Eastman allegedly played a key role in the fake elector plot where a slate of fraudulent electors were put forward to falsely certify the election for Mr Trump instead of the rightful winner, President Joe Biden.
He was also allegedly involved in attempts to pressure former Mr Pence to stop the certification of the election results, despite knowing doing so could be illegal.
At a Georgia Senate hearing on 3 December 2020 — also attended by former New York City mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani — Mr Eastman falsely told state lawmakers that they had both the power and “duty” to replace the rightful slate of Democratic electors with a group of fake electors who would fraudulently cast votes for Mr Trump.
Beyond the Georgia situation, Mr Eastman compiled a memo falsely outlining how then-Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 presidential election during the usually ceremonial certification process on 6 January 2021.
He and Mr Trump also allegedly met with Mr Pence on 4 January 2021 to try to convince him to to reject the legitimate votes for Mr Biden.
He surrendered for arrest last week on the charges while railing against the indictment “that should never have been brought”. He was released on a $100,000 bond.
As well as being charged in the Georgia case, Mr Eastman is clearly identifiable as one of Mr Trump’s unnamed alleged co-conspirators in his federal election interference case, brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office.
That indictment details how, just hours after the Capitol riot took place, Mr Eastman wrote to Mr Pence to “implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation” of the Electoral Count Act and stop the certification for 10 days.
Mr Eastman has not been charged in that case.