A Chapman University law professor who assisted President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and spoke at the rally before last week’s insurrection agreed Wednesday to retire from the university.
John Eastman said he had “mixed feelings” about the agreement as he spent nearly his entire academic career at the university, where he was once dean of the law school.
University President Daniele C. Struppa said the agreement closes a “challenging chapter” for the Orange County institution.
“After discussions over the course of the last week, Dr. John Eastman and Chapman University have reached an agreement pursuant to which he will retire from Chapman, effective immediately,” said Struppa. “Dr. Eastman’s departure closes this challenging chapter for Chapman and provides the most immediate and certain path forward for both the Chapman community and Dr. Eastman.”
Struppa was under pressure from faculty to oust Eastman, prompting him to say he could not because of the professor’s tenure. A petition condemning Eastman for his role in filing a legal brief before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the election results drew support from 159 faculty members.
Eastman praised Struppa for “his defense of me in particular and academic freedom more generally in this recent controversy.”
In an interview Monday, the 60-year-old Eastman denied having anything to do with the ransacking of the Capitol and condemned the violence.
Eastman said he left the rally last Wednesday just before it ended and was back at his hotel room to monitor the election certification hearing in Congress as some Trump supporters breached the Capitol.
“What I said at the rally last week was true,” Eastman told City News Service, repeating claims that votes were “flipped” on electronic voting machines, which a multitude of election officials have disputed and judges have dismissed.
“It’s also not true that what I said at the rally caused anything that went on down the street, which started before the president’s speech was even finished,” Eastman said, claiming that members of the antifa movement infiltrated the rally to stir up trouble.
He blamed the unrest on about “a hundred thugs” who disrupted “what was otherwise a fine and peaceful rally.”
He said the fact that multiple state and federal judges, including the U.S. Supreme Court, rejected challenges to the vote totals does not debunk his claims of election fraud. He argued that those rulings were on issues of jurisdiction and did not address the merits of the allegations.
Eastman said if his fellow academics “were truly colleagues, they would reach out to me” and ask to see his “evidence” of election fraud.
The professor drew criticism in August as well when he wrote a column challenging Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ eligibility for the office due to his claim that her parents were not naturalized citizens when she was born even though she was born in the United States.