UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include a statement from Alaska State Rep. David Eastman.
- Republican state Rep. David Eastman could be removed from office through the state’s “disqualifying clause” due to his affiliation with the Oath Keepers, whose members have been convicted for participating in the Jan. 6 capitol riots.
- Eastman was present at former President Donald Trump’s rally on Jan. 6 but did not enter restricted areas on Capitol grounds and has not been accused of entering the building.
- “We’re proud of the case we put on and like our chances,” Goriune Dudukgian, an attorney representing the plaintiff, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
An Alaska state representative faces potential removal from office due to his affiliation with a group accused of partaking in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, despite the fact that he was not accused of entering the building.
Republican State Rep. David Eastman, who was re-elected for a fourth term during the midterm election by nearly 25 points, is currently on trial after an Alaskan resident accused him of violating the state’s “disloyalty clause” for his affiliation with the “constitutional service” group the Oath Keepers, according to court documents. The clause, found in Alaska’s constitution, states that anyone who advocates for the overthrow of the government cannot hold a public office.
“No person who advocates, or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates, the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of the State shall be qualified to hold any public office of trust or profit under this constitution,” the clause reads. (RELATED: Jan. 6 Committee Recommends Four Charges For Trump)
“We’re expecting a ruling from the judge in the next few days,” Goriune Dudukgian, an attorney representing the plaintiff, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’re proud of the case we put on and like our chances.”
Eastman attended former President Donald Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, but did not enter the restricted areas of the Capitol grounds, Alaska Public Media reported. However, two Oath Keeper members, including founder Stewart Rhodes, were convicted last month of “seditious conspiracy” for their actions on Jan. 6, according to AP.
“This trial is proceeding as though the 1st Amendment had already been repealed,” Eastman told the DCNF. “That is a terrifying reality for the voters in my district. It is a fundamental American right that your vote will be counted. This lawsuit was filed to ensure that the voters in my district would not have their votes counted.”
The Oath Keepers are a group of former military, police and first responders, as well as “trained citizens” who pledge to “not obey, support or execute unconstitutional orders” or those who enforce them, its website reads. Eastman upheld his membership to the group in a trial session on Monday and said that “any organization that will assist us in supporting and defending the Constitution is an asset to our country, and I’m glad for them to do that,” Anchorage Daily News reported.
Dudukgian told the DCNF that he “believes that the evidence [they] put on will lead to a conclusion by the court that he is ineligible for office” due to Eastman’s affiliation with the group.
“The judge in this case has decided that the state now has a legal obligation to determine whether or not each candidate is sufficiently loyal to those in government before their name may be placed on the ballot in the future,” Eastman said. “Where is the America of my birth?”
Rhodes delivered testimony on Monday from his Virginia jail cell that the Oath Keepers were not involved in Jan. 6 and that any members who entered the Capitol did so against his advice.
“I told them it was stupid for two reasons. One, it was not our mission that day, and two, doing that exposed us to persecution by political enemies who are taking advantage of that to persecute us, and that’s what happened to me,” he said, according to Anchorage Daily News.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a free speech watchdog group, claimed that the disloyalty clause violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and claimed that it would “continue to watch the case against Eastman with interest.”
“A free society has confidence it will survive the expression of even the most outrageous, abhorrent views,” FIRE wrote. “It recognizes that empowering the state to decide which beliefs are acceptable to express is a recipe for tyranny.”
FIRE did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. The Oath Keepers could not be contacted.
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