John Eastman lays groundwork to sue CU Boulder for stripping him of duties after appearance at Jan. 6 Trump rally – The Denver Post
John Eastman, the University of Colorado Boulder’s visiting conservative scholar, laid the groundwork to sue the school Thursday, filing a legal claim alleging breach of contract and defamation over how the university responded to his role in efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election.
The six-page claim, a necessary precursor to filing a lawsuit, indicates Eastman will seek at least $1.9 million in damages, consisting of nearly $20,000 that remains in a CU research account and $1.85 million in future salary he alleges he can’t earn because of “reputational harm.”
The notice of claim filed by Eastman — who spoke at President Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C., rally that preceded the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection — alleges CU officials “have denied his the ability to complete his duties under the contract. They have committed libel and slander against him and have irreparably damaged his career and his professional standing.”
Eastman and his attorney Randy Corporon held a news conference in Boulder on Thursday afternoon to announce the legal move. Corporon said CU Boulder has taken “remarkable steps to cancel the voice of my client.”
Eastman, selected as CU Boulder’s visiting conservative scholar at the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization for the 2020-2021 academic year, has been in hot water with campus administration throughout his time in Boulder.
First, CU Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano issued a statement in August condemning an essay Eastman wrote in Newsweek questioning whether then-candidate Kamala Harris was eligible to serve as vice president because her parents were born outside the United States.
In January, the university stripped Eastman of his public functions and, citing low enrollment, canceled his spring courses following the scholar’s involvement in then-President Donald Trump’s push to overturn the results of last November’s election.
The university at that time said Eastman’s continued pursuit of public duties “would likely be disruptive and damage the interests of the campus and the Benson Center.”
Eastman spoke at the Trump rally that preceded the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6. And The New York Times reported Eastman was in the Oval Office with Trump the day before the Capitol riot, arguing to former Vice President Mike Pence that Pence had the power to block certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Eastman also represented Trump in a lawsuit filed by Texas and 17 other states asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block four key states from finalizing Biden’s electoral victory. The court rejected the lawsuit.
Eastman told The Denver Post at the time he was stripped of his public duties that he would be “exploring all options” because the university retaliated against him for “constitutionally protected First Amendment activities.”
CU’s leaders have walked a tightrope in handling Eastman and the outcry from the university community following the visiting professor’s appearance at the Trump rally that preceded the insurrection. University leadership accused him of spreading “repugnant” and baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud — but stopped short of firing him.
The university said Eastman was allowed to “perform scholarship” for the remainder of his appointment as the Benson Center’s visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy, for which he is being paid a privately funded $185,000 salary.