Amid frequent bandwidth complications, audio interruptions and frozen video feeds, Alaska State Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) took to the virtual stand – via Zoom – on Thursday in a lawsuit challenging his eligibility to serve in public office due to his association with the national Oath Keepers organization.

Due to a massive winter storm, hazardous road conditions and the closure of the Palmer Courthouse, Eastman was forced to answer questions under oath using remote digital conferencing with frequent bandwidth issues. This was Eastman’s second day on the stand, and the fourth day of the bench trial.

The case against Eastman, brought by former Mat-Su Assembly member Randall Kowalke, centers on the question of whether Eastman should be disqualified from serving in the Alaska Legislature based off the State Constitution’s disloyalty clause, which bars individuals from public office if they are members of an organization that seeks the violent overthrow of the government.

Last month, Eastman easily won reelection to the State Legislature for his fourth consecutive term. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jack McKenna has, however, ordered the State Division of Elections to delay certifying his victory until after the trial.

Eastman said he supported a temporary delay in certifying the 2020 elections in order to allow members of Congress to legally and lawfully file challenges to the election, but he did not support the attacks perpetrated on Jan. 6.

Goriune Dudukgian, the attorney for plaintiff Kowalke, summoned Eastman to give an account of his view of the events that unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Dudukgian’s line of questioning attempted to paint Eastman as a supporter of those who perpetrated violence at the U.S. Capital. While Eastman repeatedly said he opposes anyone who participated in acts of violence on Jan. 6., he did not outright condemn the entire Oath Keepers organization by name. Rather, he emphasize that anyone who broke the law should be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” He added that this should also apply to any individuals members of the larger Oath Keepers group who might have committed such crimes.

To date, 33 members of the 38,000-strong organization have been charged with crimes associated with Jan. 6. Last month, Oath Keepers’ founder, Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, was convicted of seditious conspiracy in connection with Jan. 6 events, as was Kelly Meggs, the leader of the Oath Keepers’ Florida chapter. Three other members were found guilty of lesser felony charges.

Eastman has been listed as a “lifetime member” of Oath Keepers since donating $50 to the group back in 2014. Prior to that, he had given two $30 donations, in 2011 and 2010. He has acknowledged that he receives occasional emails from the national organization, but has not attended rallies or conferences organized by the loosely connected organization.

Dudukgian attempted to argue that in as much as Eastman is a member of Oath Keepers, he supports an organization that attempted to violently overthrow the government. Dudukgian claimed it is impossible to separate Rhodes – or his actions – from the organization he founded.

During his testimony, Eastman noted that he was present for President Donald Trump’s speech near the White House on Jan. 6, and later gathered with friends for a photo near a memorial about a quarter mile away from the Capitol building. He explained that he never went to the Capitol itself, nor did he participate in any attempts to enter the building.

Eastman testified that he had supported a temporary delay in certifying the 2020 election in order to allow members of Congress to legally and lawfully file challenges to the election, but he did not support any of the violent attacks perpetrated on Jan. 6.

The plaintiff’s case against Eastman hinges on the ability to show that Eastman is a member of Oath Keepers, that the official organization (not just some individuals with in it) advocates for the violent overthrow of the government, and that this is a violation of Alaska’s disloyalty clause. Presiding Judge Jack McKenna has also asked both the plaintiff and defense to give him their opinions on whether there are any parts of the U.S. or Alaska constitutions which would challenge the constitutionality of Alaska’s disloyalty clause.

The case is expected to extend into next week as the defense calls numerous witnesses to the stand, including Oath Keepers founder Rhodes.

In pretrial hearings, Eastman’s attorney Joe Miller has argued that the Oath Keepers – as an organization – does not advocated for the violent overthrow of the government, nor has Eastman.

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Plaintiff attorney struggles to paint Rep. Eastman as supporter of Jan. 6 violence

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Lobo says:

    Has the so-called “judge” already made up his mind ?.. But, waiting to pretend to follow the judicial concepts of legalese ? The people involves in bringing this case to court should have to pay “all” costs, plus defamation of character suit(s). This suit was not brought with a lack of knowledge of the facts.

  • Steve says:

    So, what I’m understanding here is ANYONE belonging to a social group, and a members of that group breaks the law, then by association any member can be punished for those crimes. This is what China does. This is what Alaska’s Judicial system does.

    I took an oath when I entered the military. By definition I am an Oath Keeper by living up to those sworn words, and I support everyone else that understands that oath didn’t have an expiration date. If our government would abide by the Constitution there wouldn’t be any challenges to it authority.

  • Kasey says:

    I find all this j-6 “overthrow the gov’t” stuff ridiculous! Overthrow the gov’t???????????? WITHOUT WEAPONS????? Yeah right!

    • Terry Stires says:

      One, there were weapons used. Two, because of magnetometers, most of those domestic terrorists with guns did not participate. Three, Oath Keeper leader and convicted felon Elmer Stewart Rhodes had a cache of weapons in a nearby hotel.

      • Neil DeWitt says:

        By what you just wrote here, they were in a hotel not on site so I bet you have a weapon in your home don’t you? Your just as much to blame then. See how ridiculous you sound? Probably not because your a liberal and can’t understand.

      • John J Otness says:

        Oh shut up you hearsay bumbler…

      • Elizabeth Henry says:

        Weapons used by who? And what weapons? What exactly does that have to do with David Eastman? The logic you are supporting would also make me guilty of child sexual abuse if an elder in my church was convicted of such, simply because I am a member of that church, tithe, and believe in the teachings. Never mind if I had nothing at all to do with the grievous crime, I am guilty simply because I am a member. And by the way, there is nothing on the Oath Keepers website, nor in the tenants on that website that appears seditious or criminal in any way. Mr Eastman contributed a membership fee 12 years ago to what appeared to be to be a worthy organization upholding our constitution. He was also involved in Teen Pact, a very worthy Christian organization that teaches civics, the constitution and leadership to youth. He is big into upholding our constitution as we all should be. This is all a shameless witch hunt.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Eastman has done nothing wrong. Good grief he made a donation 12 years ago? To an organization that was founded on values held by most conservatives and had no record of any remotely seditious activities prior to January 6 and even that is sketchy. Eastman traveled to DC to participate in a rally and hear Trump speak. He traveled completely uninvolved with oathkeepers. Committed no crimes, never went into the capital. Heard Trump, did tourist stuff, hung out with friends, went home. This is a complete senseless witch-hunt brought on by an embittered former politician who saw an opportunity to capitalize on our very bad acting judicial system, and I would not be surprised, encouraged by other morally deficient players.

  • Clown World says:

    Whatever any oath keeper has ever done pales in comparison to what the cultists within the FBI and Twitter have done to manipulate the 2020 election, C19 information and the banning of conservatives. If anyone here needs to be challenged by this so called “disloyalty clause” its the anyone affiliated with the DNC.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      We could add all three letter organizations and the Big House to that list Clown World! Amen to your statement!

    • Terry Stires says:

      The only illegal manipulation of the 2020 election was done by Trump, his garbage truck drivers and the violent domestic terrorists.

  • ML Moore says:

    This kangaroo court is presumptuous to defy the will of the people. “WE THE PEOPLE”, voted for and elected our Representative, and the court believes it can now overturn our choice with it’s judicial power. It twists the State Constitutions restriction to office if the person advocates for the “violent over throw of the Government”. There is no evidence to support this allegation other than he belongs to the organization called the “Oath Keepers”. I myself am an Oath Keeper, and have been since the early 1970’s, in the sense that I served in the military and took that Oath, an oath that has no expiration date. Anyone who served in this country’s military is and oath keeper. It’s obvious this judge has never served his country, which seems to be the case with most people wearing a robe. This matter flies in the face of those who did not vote to hold a constitutional convention, so that we could correct issue such as these, and limit the runaway power of Alaska’s courts.

    The two simplistic issues here, in precis are; the power and will of the vote of the people, and belonging to and organization that may have members acting outside the law, and therefore guilty by association. To be clear, the by laws of the Oath Keepers does NOT advocate violent over throw. So beware, you members of the Elks, the Lions Club, and Rotary, you may be barred from office if someone in your club breaks the law!!!

    The January 6th protest got out of hand, no members of the capital were injured, and the protesters used no weapons of any kind. If anything the Capitol Police should be held accountable for the shooting and death of an unarmed female veteran protester. There is plenty of blame to go around, yet all you ever hear about is the Police Officer that died from a heart attack several days after the event.

    We need to stand up for Rep. Eastman, and make are voices heard, as he is a victim of the insanity of the lower 48, and our poor Judicial system.

  • matthew says:

    So – why has no one on the right started filing charges against Anchorage Assembly members? Or half of the leftists in Juneau? How many of them supports BLM? ANTIFA? Belong to the communist party of America? All of these groups very publicly and officially on their charters/webpages advocate for the over throw of the US Government – by use of force, subversion, or any tactic that moves the needle even an iota. Just saying.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      That is what we should be doing! I just am not sure how many of our reps are actually working for us. The only ones that I could truly identify were Chris Kurka and David Eastman. I keep hearing conflicting reports about so many others.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Soros backed Treason – SGT Report w/Mel K

  • Kiobasa says:

    More Democrat sponsored BS this whole ordeal was brought on by Nancy Pelosi who by the way was in charge of the security.
    just trying to pin the finger on Trump because Democrats are scared to death he is going to bring out the truth behind there illegal activities.
    and I can’t wait!

  • Diana says:

    Take a good and long look at McKenna’s background of education in second rate colleges from Californai and his terrible working years of short term jobs in law firms here in Alaska before he put in for this judge’s job. His record is not good but appointed by Dunleavy. Dunleavy is always lacking in following a critical path with jobs due to his buddy attitude. This judge is a part of that bad attitude in putting the best candidates in jobs in the state. McKenna was not the best candidate. Look at his background.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Someone else had mentioned that he did not take an oath when swearing in for his position either. I wonder why the committee that selected Dunleavy’s final choices selected this guy if he does not have an outstanding resume? I’ll bet there were some that had an outstanding resume that they would not select because it does not fit the agenda. Dunleavy seems to be going along with the lefties agenda also. Starting to feel more and more like California, Illinois and New York around here.

  • The Independent Observer says:

    I too, am an Oath Keeper by common definition through military service to this country and subsequently to state service as a law enforcement officer. If any person with those credentials were to be involved in any form of civil unrest to cite overthrow or terrorist threat against any government organization, would that also attach to all such credentialed servants? No! And it should not in this case either. I have Life Membership in a variety of organizations through donations which is little more than pay to play or say I am affiliated. I have never attended any official event or function of these organizations, and associate at my pleasure.
    This exercise is and has been an attempt of the left to “cancel” a duly and lawfully elected member of our legislature. We the People are the power in this state and country, and all delegations of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches must be reminded that they serve at OUR pleasure. It is time that We The People, cease this habit of standing on the sidelines while our communities and country crumble around us. I propose these:
    1. Actively participate in the process, not just the vote.
    2. Write or call legislators with concerns and disagreements. Agreements can come in the form of re-election, provided they promote our will.
    3. Come election time, vote NO on every judicial retention until WE THE PEOPLE have been restored to the selection process.
    4. Assert the red pen on every budget resolution until the fat is gone, before spending another nickel on pork. That means no more research spending on the drinking habits of the three-peckered horny toad in sub-Saharan Africa.
    If we don’t stand for our principles vocally and with determined action, the opposition will overshadow us and we will lose our footing in the battle for truth, justice and morality.

  • John J Otness says:

    Melting down the CCP dominion machines and making prison bars to incarcerate those complicit in this true insurrection and election steal is the only cure. Eastman is the scapegoat for this BS… Eastman is a Patriot that GOD will exonerate as there are no true men in this states govt willing to stand up to these communist that attack this man who only stands for life and Liberty….bunch of cowards…