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Eastman, Ellis subpoenaed in connection with Trump’s election interference in Georgia

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Eastman, Ellis subpoenaed in connection with Trump’s election interference in Georgia

Jul 06, 2022 | 3:18 pm ET
By Chase Woodruff
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Eastman, Ellis subpoenaed in connection with Trump’s election interference in Georgia
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Jenna Ellis, then a member of President Donald Trump's legal team, listens to Detroit poll worker Jessi Jacobs during an appearance before the Michigan House Oversight Committee on Dec. 2, 2020, in Lansing, Michigan. (Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Two attorneys with Colorado ties have been subpoenaed by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, in connection with its investigation into whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies engaged in “criminal disruptions” of the state’s 2020 election.

John Eastman, a former visiting scholar at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Jenna Ellis, a Colorado resident and former legal studies professor at Colorado Christian University, are named by the subpoenas, which were issued Tuesday, as “necessary and material witnesses” in the grand jury’s investigation.

Both Eastman and Ellis were attorneys for the Trump campaign in the months after the 2020 presidential election, when the former president launched baseless attacks on the legitimacy of election results in Georgia and other states, and was recorded telling Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call that “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”

Eastman and Ellis are wanted for questioning about their testimony at a December 2020 special hearing of the Georgia state senate, in which they, on behalf of the Trump campaign, spread false claims of widespread election fraud and urged Republican legislators to appoint an alternate slate of electors to the Electoral College.

Claims made by Ellis at that hearing regarding “suitcases” full of fraudulent ballots being covertly counted on election night were debunked by state elections officials.

“Despite this, the Witness made additional statements claiming widespread voter fraud in Georgia during the November 2020 election,” the subpoena for Ellis says. “There is evidence that the Witness’s appearance and testimony at the hearing was part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

Eastman, who at the time of the alleged election interference was a visiting professor of conservative thought and policy at CU Boulder’s Benson Center, was instrumental in promoting a radical legal theory holding that former Vice President Mike Pence could intervene to stop the certification of the election results by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

Eastman represented a group of far-right Colorado Republicans in an unsuccessful lawsuit against the state’s open-primary law earlier this year, and has regularly communicated with U.S. Election Integrity Plan, a fringe election-denial group based in Colorado.

“The Witness possesses unique knowledge concerning the planning and coordination of the Georgia State Senate hearing,” the subpoena for Eastman says. “Additionally, the Witness possesses unique knowledge concerning communications between himself, the Trump Campaign, and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

The subpoenas seek to compel both Eastman and Ellis to testify before the grand jury beginning July 12.

Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Trump campaign advisors Cleta Mitchell, Jacki Deason and Kenneth Chesebro were also subpoenaed by the grand jury.