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Trump Campaign Lawyer John Eastman Pleads Not Guilty in Arizona Case

Attorney John Eastman, the architect of a legal strategy aimed at keeping former President Donald Trump in power, gets out of an SUV to talk to reporters after a hearing in Los Angeles, Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

Jae C. Hong | AP

The attorney John Eastman pleaded not guilty Friday in the Arizona case charging him and other allies of former President Donald Trump with crimes related to their attempt to undo his 2020 election loss in the state to President Joe Biden.

Eastman is the first of 18 defendants in the case to be arraigned in a state courthouse in Phoenix.

Arraignments of the other defendants, including former Trump House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, are scheduled for the coming weeks.

Eastman, Meadows, Giuliani, and more than a dozen other people — including Trump — are separately charged in Georgia state court crimes connected with their efforts there to undo Trump’s 2020 defeat.

Mugshot of Donald Trump’s former lawyer, John Eastman for Arizona’s “Fake Electors.”

Courtesy: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

“I just had an appearance and an arraignment on charges that in my view should never have been brought,” Eastman said outside of court Friday.

“I, of course, pled not guilty. I had zero communications with the electors in Arizona, zero involvement in any of the election litigation in Arizona or legislative hearings,” Eastman said. “And I’m confident that with the laws faithfully applied I will be fully exonerated at the end of this process.” 

An Arizona grand jury last month indicted Eastman and others.

In December 2020, 11 Trump supporters claimed to be Arizona’s electors to the Electoral College and sought to cast their ballots for Trump despite Biden having won the state.

Trump himself is not charged in the indictment, but he is described in it as “Unindicted Coconspirator 1.”

In March, a California judge recommended that Eastman be disbarred in that state because of acts related to the aftermath of the 2020 election, including a plan to have then-Vice President Mike Pence refuse to certify Electoral College votes cast for Biden from several swing states that Trump lost.

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