Former Trump lawyer John Eastman pleads not guilty in Arizona election case

PHOENIX — Attorney John Eastman pleaded not guilty in a Phoenix courthouse on Friday to state charges that he schemed to keep former President Donald Trump in power after he lost the 2020 presidential election, according to multiple reports.

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Eastman, who advised Trump’s 2020 campaign, appeared briefly before a judge and later told reporters, “I’m confident that with the laws faithfully applied, I will be fully exonerated,” The New York Times reported.

“I had zero communications with the electors in Arizona (and) zero involvement in any of the election litigation in Arizona or legislative hearings,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

He faces conspiracy, fraud and forgery charges.

In April, an Arizona grand jury indicted Eastman and 17 others on charges that they tried to prevent the lawful transfer of power to President Joe Biden in November 2020.

Eastman is accused of spreading false claims of widespread election fraud and encouraging GOP electors to vote for Trump despite Biden’s win. He also pressured the Arizona Legislature and lawmakers in six other states to change the outcome of the election, according to the indictment.

Trump has not been indicted in the case. He is referred to in court documents as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Last year, Eastman was one of 19 people charged in a Georgia investigation into efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. Prosecutors in Fulton County said he was a key architect of a plan to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence into rejecting the official Democratic electors in Georgia and pushed for Pence to accept “alternate” Trump electors.

Eastman pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and other charges.

He is also one of six unindicted co-conspirators mentioned in a separate indictment of Trump in Washington, D.C., where the former president is charged with attempting to overturn the election results.

Eastman was the first of the 18 defendants charged in Arizona to make a court appearance. in the coming weeks, several others are set to appear in court, including Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former attorney Rudy Giuliani, according to CNN.

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