Big Lie ‘Architect’ John Eastman Pleads Not Guilty to Arizona Election Charges

Maricopa Country Sheriff's Office
Maricopa Country Sheriff's Office

Former Donald Trump attorney John Eastman, who’s been called the “architect” of Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2o20 election results, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in Arizona on Friday.

Eastman’s arraignment was followed by the release of his mugshot, in which he stared blankly forward while wearing a navy suit and tie.

Eastman faces charges along with 17 other defendants in the Arizona case, all of whom were indicted on charges related to an alleged GOP-run scheme to put forward a slate of electors who would say Trump won the state in the 2020 presidential election despite the victory going to Joe Biden. Eastman was the first to be booked and arraigned.

The former attorney, who was disbarred in California this year, is accused of leading the fake elector plot—based on fringe legal theories—to flip Arizona in Trump’s favor, despite Biden having won the state by just over 10,000 votes.

“I, of course, plead not guilty,” Eastman said in a brief hearing, multiple news outlets reported. “I’m confident that, with the laws faithfully applied, I will be exonerated at the end of this process.”

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After his hearing, a judge allowed Eastman to be released without conditions.

It’s a glimpse into what Eastman’s co-defendants, many of whom are Trump allies and loyalists, may face in Arizona. Among the others facing charges includes Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff; Rudy Giuliani, an ex-attorney; Boris Epshteyn, a close aide; and Christina Bobb, the top lawyer on “election integrity” for the Republican National Committee.

A source told CNN that each defendant will be fingerprinted, booked, and will have a mugshot taken, just as Eastman had done.

While Arizona prosecutors will hope to send Eastman to jail over alleged crimes he committed in the state, he is accused of being the mastermind behind a multi-step plan to keep Trump in the White House that spanned beyond just Arizona.

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That included Eastman allegedly insisting to Trump that Mike Pence, as vice president, had the authority to unilaterally block certification of the election—a theory that has been repeatedly shouted down as being false, but was embraced by Trump nevertheless.

The fallout of the failed scheme has wrecked Eastman’s career, with him no longer working for Trump and now ineligible to practice law in California—a decision that’s now set in stone after a judge denied an appeal to have his disbarment overturned earlier this month.

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