Former President Donald Trump received an update about a possible plea deal in Georgia after one of his co-defendants announced on Tuesday that he was turning himself in.
An attorney for John Eastman, who previously served as Trump’s lawyer, told ABC News that Eastman was planning to surrender himself to officials at the Fulton County Jail. Eastman’s attorney said, “He is going to trial, there will be no plea deal.”
Eastman issued a statement through the Burnham & Gorokhov law firm stating, “I am here today to surrender to an indictment that should never have been brought. It represents a crossing of the Rubicon for our country, implicating the fundamental First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances.”
“My legal team and I will vigorously contest every count of the indictment in which I am named, and also every count in which others are named, for which my knowledge of the relevant facts, law, and constitutional provisions may prove helpful. I am confident that, when the law is faithfully applied in this proceeding, all of my co-defendants and I will be fully vindicated,” Eastman’s statement said.
The announcement by Eastman’s attorney comes shortly after Trump said he would not take a plea deal last week following the indictment against him in Fulton County, Georgia, over allegations related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.
“I don’t take plea deals. We did nothing wrong. We don’t ever take a plea deal. We don’t take plea deals. It’s a wise guy question. You’re just a wise guy. We don’t take plea deals, because I did nothing wrong. It’s called election interference,” Trump said when asked if he would take a plea deal last week.
Trump wrote on TruthSocial that he was planning to surrender himself. “I’ll be going to Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday to be ARRESTED by a Radical Left District Attorney, Fani Willis, who is overseeing one of the greatest Murder and Violent Crime DISASTERS in American History,” he wrote.
Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s spokesperson via email for comment.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis previously announced the indictment against Trump and 18 of his allies, including Eastman, for charges including violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
“The indictment alleges that rather than abide by Georgia’s legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election result,” Willis said following the announcement of the indictment.
Regarding the comments by Eastman’s attorney, Michael McAuliffe, a former federal prosecutor and former elected state attorney, told Newsweek on Tuesday: “Defense attorneys often make statements on behalf of clients early in criminal cases that later prove inaccurate or unwise. It may well be that the case goes to trial, but some might see the comment as gratuitous given the defendant hasn’t even surrendered to the authorities.”
“Defendants (if any) who decide to plead guilty and cooperate will change the overall strength of the case. That type of development will require the remaining defendants to reevaluate what is in their best interests. In criminal cases, defendants always need to make decisions based on real-time factors, not general predictions of preference,” McAuliffe said.
Update: 8/22/23, 1:49 p.m. EST. This story has been updated to include that McAuliffe is a former elected state attorney.