The disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s attorney John Eastman is in its fourth week, and on Thursday the State Bar of California rested its case and Eastman’s attorney began putting on witnesses, beginning with former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. Gableman was directed by the Wisconsin Legislature to conduct a minimal investigation of the 2020 election, and he revealed numerous instances where he believed the law was broken, and had election officials referred for prosecution.
Shortly after Gableman began testifying as Eastman’s first witness, the judge appeared to lose her temper at him. Gableman was discussing how he’d been appointed by Wisconsin Speaker of the House Robin Vos, and approved by the Wisconsin Assembly to serve as special counsel to investigate whether there was wrongdoing in the 2020 election. Gableman said it was “widely known” that Vos didn’t want a “deep” investigation, it was “not a serious effort.”
Carling objected to him stating it was “widely known” since it was hearsay. Although Roland has let in almost all hearsay favoring the California Bar so far, justifying it by stating the disciplinary court has extra exceptions for hearsay, she would not allow Gableman’s statement, and gave him a stern lecture. When Gableman inquired about the Rules of Evidence in that court, she looked upset and called for a break asking Eastman’s attorney to deal with him.
Miller asked Gableman about what violations of the law he found from his investigation. Gableman discussed how Wisconsin election officials from the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) ignored the law requiring bipartisan observers present when collecting votes from nursing homes and other assisted living facilities, and so the sheriff referred the election officials for criminal charges. Gableman said those officials said during a meeting that was videotaped that they knew they were breaking the law by telling the clerks to disregard the law and just mail the ballots to nursing home residents.
Other laws Gableman said he discovered were broken were related to “Zuckbucks,” money that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s organization provided to five of Wisconsin’s largest cities, ostensibly to deal with voting during COVID-19. Zuckerberg’s Center for Tech & Civic Life (CTCL) provided $8.8 million to the cities, which Gableman said he refused to refer to as grants because he believed they were really employment contracts. He said the contracts required the cities to follow instructions provided by CTCL, which he believed was a violation of law for a private entity to tell the government what to do. If the cities didn’t comply, there was a “clawback provision,” which would penalize the cities almost $10 million.
The contracts behaved like employment contracts, he said, since the CTCL employees would go to the election clerks’ offices and work with them. There, they had access to information the public could not acquire anywhere near as well. They could see the voter rolls over time; whereas if the public wanted to see them, they would need to pay $12,500, wait four to five days, and then be provided a snapshot of one moment in time from the database. Gableman said this would not reveal to them whether voter registrations had been made active two weeks prior to the election, then changed back to inactive two weeks after the election, something that had become a concern.
Gableman was disturbed that the CTCL employees were able to determine if a voter was likely to vote for Trump or Biden by looking in the databases. They were allowed to see voters who had requested ballots but hadn’t returned them, then go chase them down to get their ballots. He said the CTCL employees were “embedded” in the clerks’ offices and “running the elections.”
He believed this was “election bribery,” since the CTCL paid the cities to reach out to register voters and solicit their ballots. The law states that you cannot give anything of value to solicit a ballot.
Gableman pointed out that Zuckerberg and his wife had publicly stated they wanted to defeat Trump. The pair hired progressive activist David Plouffe to run their operation. Plouffe had written a book on how to defeat Trump, where he said the election would be won dueling it out “block by block” in these types of big cities, Gableman said.
Gableman said votes were “illegally cast” that were deposited in drop boxes, since the drop boxes violated the law by not being placed near the clerks’ offices. Instead the clerks allowed the CTCL to dictate where they were placed. He said the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled they were illegal. Finally, Gableman said his investigation found that there were far more people registered to vote than were eligible; 4.5 million eligible voters, but over 7 million on the rolls.
The judge’s response to these revelations was to ask Gableman how this activity was any different from Republicans engaging in electioneering.
Thursday’s proceedings began with wrapping up the California bar’s case, as its attorney Duncan Carling finished his cross-examination of Eastman. He asked Eastman if the alternate slates of electors were valid, then could any private group of citizens submit slates to the vice president who would have to consider them? Eastman responded and said the difference is that in 2020, the slates were composed of electors “formally nominated by their own party,” not private people who chose themselves. He referenced a woman in Tennessee who submits her own private slate of electors regularly that gets ignored. Neither she nor her “slate” have been prosecuted or disciplined.
Carling tried multiple times to get Eastman to state that the vice president, serving as president of the senate, has the sole authority over accepting or rejecting electoral slates. Eastman repeatedly corrected him, stating that his position was more nuanced. In 1857, the vice president made the decision on his own without the assistance of Congress to accept a disputed electoral slate from Wisconsin, saying any objections were out of order. Eastman said the law is not clear whether Congress has a role too. Eastman believes the Electoral Count Act is probably unconstitutional since it gave Congress this authority, which may violate the 12th Amendment delegating it to the vice president.
At one point, Eastman referred to the vice president as “him,” and California Bar Disciplinary Judge Yvette Roland, who contributed to Democrats while sitting as a judge, corrected him and said “or her.”
Eastman said he believed electronic voting machines in Colorado’s Mesa County flipped the vote from Trump to Biden in the 2020 election. In Michigan’s Antrim County, where the machines also flipped the vote but it was treated as a mistake, he said it was unable to be determined whether it was intentional or not since the log files were deleted.
John David, an X user, tweeted, “Ever notice how often evidence, drives, documents, etc get lost, destroyed, cleaned, wiped like with a cloth and so forth? Seems to lean very heavily in favor of certain agencies and people too. One might at some point think it was happening on purpose.”
When asked whether there was intentional election fraud in Arizona, Eastman said it wasn’t allowed to be fully proven since a full investigation was never permitted. In Wisconsin, Eastman said there was “evidence of coordination in Wisconsin between election officials and Democratic Party officials.”
Eastman also said there was collusion between Pennsylvania election officials and the Democratic Party. He said the government gave advance warning to Democratic Party officials in advance that they would be breaking state law by allowing curing of ballots on Election Day. This allowed the Democratic Party to advertise for workers in advance, which violated law since state law said that information cannot be disclosed until the polls have closed, Eastman explained.
In both Pennsylvania and Georgia, he said bipartisan teams of observers were prohibited from going into nursing homes, which led to massive turnout from those nursing homes and fraud found there.
Eastman criticized former Attorney General Bill Barr’s claim that the election was secure. Barr said there was no fraud, Eastman said, but said nothing about the illegalities, “and precious little in the way of investigations that would give credibility to such a statement [denying fraud].”
Carling questioned Eastman about his speech at the J6 protest, where he said dead people voted. Eastman said he’d heard prior to the speech that there were large numbers of votes recorded by dead people in Georgia and Nevada.
Carling frequently asked questions of Eastman that were phrased in ways Eastman said were incorrect. For example, Carling referenced a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case where he said the court upheld the lower district court. Eastman, testifying from memory, said the appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part, and Carling admitted Eastman was right.
Randy Miller, Eastman’s attorney, frequently objected to Carling asking Eastman about completely unrelated cases that took place long after his involvement in the 2020 election challenges, such as the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News. Miller said to allow the questioning to continue, it could go on forever asking Eastman about random cases that took place for years afterwards that had nothing whatsoever to do with him. The judge overruled his objections.
Eastman said he hadn’t followed the Dominion lawsuit closely, since he wasn’t involved in it, but said the problem with that case was counter evidence wasn’t presented, and he was surprised Fox didn’t fight it more.
Carling asked Eastman about the two lawsuits Trump brought in Georgia, Trump v. Raffensperger and Trump v. Kemp, which were “voluntarily dismissed.” Eastman explained that in the Raffensperger lawsuit, the judge didn’t bother scheduling it until after J6, so after that it was moot, too late. The other case had a similar situation making it moot.
At one point, Eastman said he was relying on the findings of an expert who found that the number of ballots massively increased overnight after the Wisconsin election. The mainstream media said it wasn’t a massive increase, citing “estimates” that were just slightly off by election officials. Eastman said his expert disagreed. Carling asked Eastman who the expert was, and Eastman said he preferred not to say since he’d told the expert he would leave his name out of the trial, but said he could tell the judge off the record. She refused to let him protect the expert, and required him to reveal his name, which was Dr. Eric Quinnell.
Later, Carling pointed out that Quinnell’s name was on one of the documents that Eastman had provided, acting as if that justified releasing his name regarding the Wisconsin incident.
As took place frequently during previous days of the trial, the judge allowed in a considerable amount of evidence that was unrelated to Eastman. She allowed Carling to play the entire speech that Rudy Giuliani gave at the J6 protest.
The trial is being livestreamed and is expected to continue through next week unless interrupted by the Georgia prosecution. Coverage of the earlier cross-examination of Eastman on Wednesday, which brought out many of the reasons judges dismissed election challenges in the 2020 election, is here.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Image “Michael Gableman” by Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel.