Eastman Invokes the Fifth Before Georgia Grand Jury

Trump lawyer's attorneys slam 'criminalization of unpopular legal theories'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2022 7:30 PM CDT
Eastman Invokes the Fifth Before Georgia Grand Jury
In this image from video released by the House Select Committee, John Eastman, a lawyer for former President Donald Trump, appears during a video deposition.   (House Select Committee via AP, File)

Lawyer John Eastman, a key player in former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, appeared for a deposition before a grand jury in Georgia on Wednesday, and his attorneys say he asserted attorney-client privilege and his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination "when appropriate." "Out of respect for grand jury secrecy we will not disclose the substance of the questions or testimony," the lawyers said in a statement, per NBC. The special grand jury is assisting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' investigation of possible interference in Georgia's election by Trump and his allies.

After the 2020 election, Eastman circulated a plan to bring in fake—or "alternate"—electors in states including Georgia, and to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count some electoral votes for Biden. Lawyers Charles Burnham and Harvey Silverglate slammed Willis for going down what they called "an unprecedented path of criminalizing controversial or disfavored legal theories," the Hill reports. "Criminalization of unpopular legal theories is against every American tradition and would have ended the careers of John Adams, Ruth Ginsburg, Thurgood Marshall and many other now-celebrated American lawyers,” they said in a statement.

Willis has subpoenaed Trump allies including Rudy Giuliani, who testified earlier this month, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is fighting the summons, the AP reports. She has also filed petitions seeking the testimony of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and attorney Sidney Powell. L. Lin Wood Jr., another attorney who backed Trump's efforts to overturn the election, says he has been told Willis wants his testimony as well. "If they want to ask me questions, I’m happy to answer them,” Wood tells the AP. "I have nothing to hide." (Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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