Lawfare’s New Frontier: Targeting Trump’s Legal Defenders

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by Jeff Childers

The newfangled, 21st-century, two-tiered, weaponized lawfare against President Trump metastasized again yesterday into the another criminal prosecution against Trump-supporting lawyers, which this time doesn’t include or even need the former president. Phoenix local affiliate ABC-15 ran the story yesterday headlined, “11 Arizona Republicans, 7 others indicted in 2020 Trump ‘fake electors’ scheme.

It’s eighteen more Republican political indictments. Short-sighted, oxygen-deprived maskaholic liberals unable to imagine how these lawfare tactics could ever be used against them expressed ecstasy over the news:

As if the Michigan, Georgia, and Nevada prosecutions weren’t already enough, yesterday Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) indicted seven attorneys and aides who worked on Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, plus 11 local Arizona Republicans on felony charges for fraud and forgery (and conspiring to do those things).

“I will not allow American democracy to be undermined,” the corpselike Mayes bravely announced on Twitter yesterday afternoon.

“The scheme, had it succeeded, would have deprived Arizona’s voters of their right to have their votes counted for their chosen president. It would effectively have made their votes meaningless,” Mayes intoned in a skull-penetratingly high octave.

Rather than charge the Republican citizens with any elections crimes, Mayes indicted them with broad common law charges stretched to the legal breaking point. For instance, the heart of the complaint is a common-law claim that the charged citizen conspirators attempted to defraud people by “depriving Arizona voters of their right to vote.”

Specifically, what happened was the Arizona GOP believed widespread cheating occurred during the 2020 election. I realize that is probably hard to believe, since the same people who lie about everything else insist Arizona’s was the fairest election ever held.

Anyway, national Republicans told the state GOP to stand by, they were filing elections lawsuits, but the problem was Arizona’s Secretary of State was already sending in the democrat electors’ votes.

So in Arizona (along with several other states where cheating was rampant), the GOP hastily assembled an alternative slate of Republican electors, so they would be ready to go in case one of the legal challenges succeeded. But DA Mayes disbelieves the electors were actually waiting for the legal green light.

DA Mayes accused the defendants of a switcheroo — trying to trick, or defraud, the Congress into mistaking the Republican alternate electors for the proper ones, and trying to trick Congress into thinking the official electors nominated by the Secretary of State were the fakes instead.

The Arizona indictment stretches the definition of fraud further than pulled taffy. “Defendants,” the indictment explained, “deceived the public by arguing the scheme to have Republican electors vote for Trump-Pence in Arizona and six other states was legal.” (Apparently, defending yourself by arguing whatever you did was legal is now fraud.) Another example of “fraud” was the form that the Republican alternative electors had to fill out, to be ready in case of a favorable court ruling. The form language stated they were “duly elected and qualified.”

Exactly whom the unused alternative electors form actually defrauded remains an unanswered question. We are now so far past the legal requirements for pleading fraud that courts have collapsed the whole claim into a single element: intent. These days, if a prosecutor or plaintiff merely alleges somebody had a fraudulent intent, then virtually any basket of facts, however thinly-woven or leaky, seems enough to hold the fraud claim together in certain states.

It’s getting risky for lawyers to represent conservatives in elections. Since 2020, I’ve litigated five local election-related cases representing conservative candidates (not the Trump election; it was after that). In three cases I won, I was personally sued for bringing or winning the case. I am blessed to work in Florida and ultimately prevailed in all three lawsuits. But in one case, where my unlikely co-defendant is Governor DeSantis, we had to win all the way up through the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Now the democrats are seeking an appeal at the Supreme Court.

Toting the numbers, I’ve been sued personally as the lawyer by democrats in three elections cases out of five. I can’t deny it makes me think harder about taking any future elections cases. It’s like a bad BOGO; buy one election case, and get one expensive civil lawsuit for free.

It’s a problem. Every good lawyer who might consider taking a case later this year must carefully consider the risk of eventually becoming a criminal defendant under some warped DA’s thinly-sliced legal theory, not to mention the possibility of being fired from your firm, disbarred, and blacklisted.

Which is exactly what happened to Trump lawyer John Eastman, one of the 18 new Arizona defendants, and one of the Fulton County (Fani Willis) defendants. John was recently recommended for disbarment in California. He was forced to resign from his professorship at Chapman Law School, and his visiting professorship at the University of Colorado. He’s been de-banked twice, and is described by other lawyers as existing in “a state of felonious infamy.”

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Utter desperation.

DA Mayes accused the defendants of a switcheroo — trying to trick, or defraud, the Congress into mistaking the Republican alternate electors for the proper ones, and trying to trick Congress into thinking the official electors nominated by the Secretary of State were the fakes instead.

What were they going to do, post a meme telling the fraud-supporting electors to show up the day AFTER the certification hearing? Let’s remember that these are the same people that changed the size of ballots so they couldn’t be tabulated since Republicans show up overwhelmingly to vote in person on election day.