DENVER — Visiting scholar John Eastman laid the groundwork to sue the University of Colorado Boulder on Thursday, filing a legal claim alleging defamation and violation of his First Amendment rights over school leaders’ response to his role in efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election.
Eastman, the visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy at CU’s Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization, spoke at President Donald Trump’s rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 that preceded the U.S. Capitol insurrection.
The six-page notice of claim, a necessary precursor to suing the university, also alleges breach of contract, and indicates Eastman will seek at least $1.9 million in damages, including 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 alleges CU officials “have denied (Eastman) 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.”
“I am taking this step,” Eastman said at a news conference, “because my role in this whole controversy puts me in a position to make a stand for other professors who may, as a result of what has been done to me, be cowed from their own exercise of First Amendment rights, choosing self-censorship instead of the gauntlet of hate and vitriol to which I have been subject.”