Case over Wasilla lawmaker’s eligibility to hold office will go to trial

Judge Jack McKenna will decide Friday whether the case against David Eastman will go to trial
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 6:33 PM AKST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2022 at 2:29 PM AKST
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UPDATE (Dec. 9 - 2:26 p.m.) -- Judge Jack McKenna said on Friday that the case against Wasilla Rep. David Eastman will go to trial.

As of Friday afternoon, the dates scheduled for the trial are Dec. 12-16 and Dec. 19-21.

Prior story

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Oral arguments were heard Thursday in a case centered on a state lawmaker whose qualifications are being called into question by an Alaska resident.

The complaint lodged against current Wasilla Rep. David Eastman maintains the state lawmaker should not be allowed to hold his position in the state House because of his affiliation with a group widely known as a far-right, anti-government militia.

Eastman is a member of the Oath Keepers, an organization that many blame for storming the Capitol building on Jan. 6. The complaint was filed on Jul. 29 by the Northern Justice Project on Randall Kowalke’s behalf, a constituent of Eastman.

The legal team for Kowalke argues that because of evidence of Eastman’s ties to the Oath Keepers, he should not be considered qualified to hold his current position in office and that it’s in direct violation of Article 12, Section 4 of the Alaska Constitution which states:

“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.”

Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, was recently convicted of sedition conspiracy by a federal jury in Washington D.C.

Judge Jack McKenna presided over the arguments virtually Thursday morning and expects to make a decision on whether the case will make it to trial on Friday.

Eastman’s attorney, Joseph Miller, argued that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was not an attempt to overthrow the government, while Goriune Dudukgian, attorney for Kowalke, maintained that the violent actions stretched beyond the protections of the First Amendment.