Former Trump attorney John Eastman is Colorado’s most prominent election denier, having authored the coup memo while employed by the University of Colorado’s Benson Center for Western Conservative Thought. In a Dec. 12 court deposition, Joe Oltmann, perhaps the state’s second-most infamous conspiracist, says Eastman was involved in setting up his Jan. 6 meetings with Oltmann and various Trump Administration officials, including a senior official in Trump’s State Department.
Oltmann answered questions about his Jan. 6 activities during a deposition taken as part of a defamation lawsuit filed by former Dominion Voting Systems employee Eric Coomer against another election conspiracist, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who is also friend and business associate of Oltmann. Coomer is also suing Oltmann directly.
In the Dec. 12 deposition, Coomer’s attorney asks Oltmann about how he connected with Eastman, whom he met with during his trip to Washington, D.C. before and during the insurrection.
Oltmann’s answers aren’t entirely coherent, but it’s clear he met with Eastman at least twice, another election-denying Trump attorney Matt DePerno; Assistant Secretary of State Bob Destro, a lawyer from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office; and several fellow conspiracists. These meetings have been previously reported.
During the Dec. 12 deposition, Oltmann says he sent a flowchart he created purporting to show election rigging to Eastman, sometime in late December. He also says he met with Eastman on Jan. 5 before speaking at the Stop the Steal pre-rally, and that that conversation led to his meeting with high-level State Dept. officials on Jan. 6.
He claims he was introduced to Eastman by one of two prominent election conspiracists, Charles “Sam” Faddis or Phil Waldron. Both men have intelligence backgrounds, Faddis with the CIA and Waldron with the Defense Intelligence Agency, which makes them particularly dangerous advocates for election conspiracies. Oltmann says he first connected with Waldron via a Signal chat group created in advance of MyPillowCEO Mike Lindell’s Aug. 2021 Cyber Symposium, which both men attended.
Oltmann also says he connected with legislative staffers for several members of Congress, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA).
Asked during the deposition about how he ended up meeting with officials from the Secretary of State, Oltmann credits his accurate prediction that the U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia, which took place on Jan. 5, would show Democrats initially losing and then retaking the lead — which he attributes to fraud — led to someone other than Eastman (though he later contradicts this) sending him to the State Dept.
Oltmann praised Eastman as one of the only people besides himself who “really cared about whether or not we were looking at what was true and not true in the election,” saying others were only interested in money and power.
Asked what he thought the Trump administration should have done with the information he presented, Oltmann agreed with Eastman’s plan for Pence to delay the Electoral College vote count on Jan. 6, saying, “We probably should have hit the pause button … and really looked into what really happened across the country in the elections from a state by state basis.”
Oltmann then said he was asked to present his information to President Trump, but declined, saying it was “not his place” to do so.
A few months later, Eastman appeared to confirm Oltmann’s account of their Jan. 5 meeting during a June 2, 2021 podcast appearance with former New Mexico State University professor David Clements. Recounting his Jan. 6 speech, Eastman summarized his remarks to the crowd, including Oltmann’s take on the Georgia runoff. “We’ve got a forensic audit in Michigan that has showed how the machines can be used to manipulate votes and the experts that did that audit told me last night that they saw it happening in real-time in Georgia.”
Prior to calling for the vice president to unilaterally delay certification of the electoral votes, Eastman was involved in attempting to convince state legislatures to do so themselves. In Giuliani’s deposition before the Jan. 6 Select Committee, attorneys asked him about a conference call involving Eastman and others on which the President told hundreds of state legislators, “you are the real power.”
Q: Do you remember participating in a call on January the 2nd with PhilI Kline, the President, Peter Navarro, John Eastman, and reportedly up to 300 State legislators?
Giuliani: I do recall a conversation like that, yes. It was an audio thing. And I made a presentation at that and listened to some of it, probably not most of it.
Q: Was there a goal, an outcome that you thought could come of it?
Giuliani: Obviously, the goal and the outcome was to seek more time to see if the allegations of voter fraud that we had in abundance would be accepted and would be analyzed… The purpose was to see if they could get a session and have a vote. Basically, the vote would be to analyze more carefully the evidence that either was presented or the additional evidence that hadn’t been presented.
In Eastman’s own deposition, he refused to answer any questions at all, instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination around 100 times, including in the following exchange.
Eastman faces many legal consequences for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Most recently the California Bar Association announced it’s charging him with eleven counts of misconduct related to the insurrection, but he also faces criminal investigations from a district attorney in Georgia as well as the U.S. Department of Justice.
Eastman did not respond to an email request for comment. This article will be updated with any response received. Oltmann cut off questioning about his answers to this deposition during a phone call interview with the Colorado Times Recorder.
Excerpted Transcript of Joe Oltmann’s deposition in Lindell v. Coomer, taken Dec. 12, 2022
Q: …how did you find yourself in a room where ex-security officials were presenting themselves one by one?
A: You ever seen Forrest Gump?
A: All right. So I mean, look, I — I didn’t ask for it. They just asked me– I sent the model to a bunch of people, including John Easton.
A: Eastman, sorry. And a guy named Terry. And then I was having conversations with them about what the system would have to look like in order to create the fraud and to syndicate it. Then I read all the 5,000 affidavits.
Q: So why did you send this information to John Eastman?
A: I sent him the model. He said, here’s the model —
Q: How did you know John Eastman? I mean, how did you — what made you think that Mr. Eastman would appreciate that communication?
A: I think — I don’t know who came first, but it was either Phil Waldron or it was the ex-CIA guy.
A: Faddis. That was Charles Faddis who flew in.
Q: So in those meetings you’re having on the 5th, if I understand correctly, Charles Faddis or Phil Waldron referred you to John Eastman?
A: I think so.
Q: You provided a flowchart to John Eastman. Eastman then scheduled meetings with you and former security officials who came to speak with you?
A: No. No, I think it— I think that one— Faddis or Eastman came first. Eastman might have heard about it through some of these other people, because I was also— I sent all that information over to Congressman Johnson’s office. I had a conversation with his staff. I had a conversation with staff at the congressman in Pennsylvania’s office. There’s four or five different congressional offices that were — that I was providing information to them because they contacted me first because they said, well, all these posts for Coomer were all made up based on a December, I think, 9th op-ed written by Eric Coomer.
Q: So you said Congressman Johnson. Which Johnson are you referring to?
A: Ron Johnson.
Q: The senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson?
A: Let me check real quick.
A: Yeah. So I can’t — I can get that information back to you if you want me to. I can tell you who that person is for clarification.
Q: Sure. Yeah. You mentioned a congressman from Pennsylvania. Are you referring to Scott Perry?
A: I think so, yeah.
Q: Any other Congresspeople you met with?
A: I didn’t meet with them. I met with their teams.
Q: So how did you find yourself at the Secretary of State’s office with Mr. DePerno the next day? Did somebody refer you there?
A: Okay, so that night on the 5th, I went on the stage. And before that, I had a meeting with a couple of people. I think one of them was John Eastman…I sat down with them, and I said, let me just tell you what’s going to happen tonight with the election with Georgia, the Georgia election, the runoff election. I said, the system’s going to go down, it’s going to come back up. It’s going to start out with the Democrats losing, and it’s going to end up with the Democrats winning. And here’s some of the indicators that you’re going to have.
Q: When you say with them, you’re talking about John Eastman? Who else? Who’s there?
A: I don’t — I don’t remember the somebody else. And they — they laughed at me.
Q: So was this Mr. Giuliani?
A: No, I — I only sat — that’s a totally different conversation that occurred. And that on January 6th that night. It was the first time that I had conversations with Giuliani.
Q: So that’s the information that you went with Mr. DePerno to present at the State Department the next day?
A: No, that’s actually not even how I ended up at the State Department. I ended up at the State Department because at 2:00 in the morning I get a phone call from I think it was either Waldron or Eastman or there were several of them.
Q: So Mr. Eastman then put you in touch with officials at the State Department and said that you need to hear from this guy?
A: No. So then somebody else reached out to somebody in the State Department and they said, you’re going to the State Department today. And that was — I mean, I just got here. I don’t remember. I mean, look, it — it was a blur. I mean, I’m going to — I’m going to place and I’m unfamiliar with. Everyone is talking about power and money, and you have people that are walking up to me saying, oh, you know, there’s some great opportunities. And they’re — they’re trying to — it’s the craziest environment ever, because I didn’t feel like all of these people really cared about whether or not we were looking at what was true and not true in the election. I think some of them did. I think John Eastman did. But there was a lot of people there that were just kind of hanging on and looking for opportunities. And, you know, I wanted nothing to do with it. I just — I wanted to get in, talk about the things that were — were true. The stuff that I uncovered inside the system because I got sued, because I doubled down. As soon as you come after me, right? I’m going to double down. I’m going to go, okay, well let’s — let’s validate it.
Q: So why were you sent to the State Department?
A: Because everything that I said was going to happen on the 5th in the runoff election happened…
Q: So through these contacts, you and Mr. DePerno were referred to the State Department and that’s where you met with Bob Destro and Mike Pompeo?
A: I did not meet with Mike Pompeo. I met with counsel for Mike Pompeo.
Q: Okay. And Bob Destro?
A: Bob Destro I do believe was involved in some of the conversations, yes. I don’t know if he was there at the time that we were talking to them. No.
Q: And he presented you the flowchart and explained to him?
A: And then — and then somebody said — I can’t — I still can’t remember that one guy’s name.· And I never wrote it down.· He’s like a ghost. And I keep asking everybody what his name is. I even asked Phil Waldron what his name is. He’s like, well, what’s this guy look like? Clean shaven? Mid-fifties?· So as we sat there, I think it was, here’s the diagram and here’s what happened on January 5th.· Now either I’m just a really good guesser or I understand that architecture of the system.
Q: What do you expect the State Department to do with that?
A: I think it’s above my pay grade. I think that we probably should have hit the pause button. I don’t think we’d be here today if we would’ve hit the pause button and really looked into the— what really happened across the country in the elections from a state by state basis. And the fact that we act like elections have autonomy to their state and the states are— are freely able to have their own system deployment. But they really, really don’t because they’re all tied to this system called ERIC. And then ERIC has the ability to then freely input —
Q: So these concerns, that’s why John Eastman helped to arrange in a meeting with you at the State Department, with the State Department officials, to raise these concerns?
A: Yeah. So then they asked me to — to present it to the president and I said, I think that’s probably not my place.