A bar discipline committee based in Washington, D.C., recommended on Friday that Trump ally and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani be disbarred in the nation’s capital for his work in attempting to expose and prosecute election fraud in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
The three-member panel, whose purpose is to look at cases of attorney misconduct in the District of Columbia, proclaimed its decision in a 38-page document, asserting that Giuliani “claimed massive election fraud but had no evidence of it.”
“By prosecuting that destructive case Mr. Giuliani, a sworn officer of the Court, forfeited his right to practice law,” the panel added.
However, the committee’s recommendation is not the end for the former mayor, who was once one of the most respected attorneys in Manhattan and a top Justice Department official during the Ronald Reagan administration. Giuliani’s case must still be considered by D.C.’s Board on Professional Responsibility and by the D.C. court of appeals.
The committee blasted Giuliani for allegedly seeking to undermine trust in America’s electoral system, including by arguing in a Pennsylvania federal court that the 2020 election was influenced by electoral fraud in that state which, if addressed, would reverse Joe Biden’s win there and put it in Trump’s column.
“Mr. Giuliani has not acknowledged or accepted responsibility for his misconduct. To the contrary, he has declared his indignation over being subjected to the disciplinary process,” the committee’s report reads. “We are convinced that a sanction must be enhanced to ensure that it adequately deters both Respondent [Giuliani] and other attorneys from acting similarly in the future.”
The latest move from the committee comes after a state court in 2021 suspended Giuliani’s right to practice law in the Empire State, also on the grounds of his pro-Trump activities after the 2020 election. Thus far, there has not been a conclusive department order for Giuliani in that state.
The panel on Friday was composed of two D.C. lawyers, Robert Bernius and Jay Brozost, along with a public, non-attorney member — Carolyn Haynesworth-Murrell.
Their report further alleged of Giuliani:
His hyperbolic claims of election fraud and the core thesis of the Pennsylvania litigation were utterly false, and recklessly so. Mr. Giuliani’s rash overstatement claiming that the election was stolen had no evidence to support it.
Respondent … commenced litigation without evidence that its core factual claim was true. The hearing clearly and convincingly disclosed that there was no such evidence: Respondent based the Pennsylvania litigation only on speculation, mistrust, and suspicion.
While the panel admitted that other D.C. lawyers who (like Giuliani) were accused of filing frivolous and unsupported cases got only suspension (rather than the disbarment they are advocating for the former mayor), it justified its position by making the case that his actions were more extreme than those of anyone who has preceded him.
“The misconduct underlying his violations is immensely more acute. His frivolous claims impacted not only the court and parties involved but threatened irreparable harm to the entire nation,” the members of the committee wrote.
Giuliani is not the only former or current Trump-allied attorney to have his right to practice law attacked for his role in the 2020 dispute.
As Politico notes:
John Eastman, an architect of Trump’s last-ditch bid to upend the election, is in the midst of protracted disciplinary hearings in California, which have now been postponed to late August.
After a nine-month delay, Jeff Clark — a former senior Justice Department official who Trump sought to deputize in service of his efforts to remain in power — was ordered to appear for bar discipline hearings this fall despite his continued efforts to stave off the proceedings.
And Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis, who worked closely with Giuliani, reached a settlement with Colorado bar authorities earlier this year, admitting that she repeatedly made false statements about election fraud amid efforts to help Trump stay in power.
Giuliani has also been embattled on other fronts. In November, he finally declared victory after a lengthy federal probe in which prosecutors wanted to pursue criminal charges over allegations that he should have registered as a foreign agent related to his dealings with persons in Ukraine.
Giuliani’s legal team says they will appeal the latest decision from the D.C. panel. A spokesman for Giuliani, Ted Goodman, told Politico, “The decision-makers at the DC Bar Association are nothing more than an arm of the permanent regime in Washington. This is also part of an effort to deny President Trump effective counsel by persecuting Rudy Giuliani — objectively one of the most effective prosecutors in American history. I call on rank-and-file members of the DC Bar Association to speak out against this great injustice.”
Do the reprisals against the lawyers who argued Trump’s case in the wake of the 2020 election set a dangerous precedent for America? One of the hallmarks of the American system is the principle that everyone has the right to legal representation in a court of law.
But is that right not under assault if attorneys are afraid of taking on cases of political dissidents lest they lose their ability to practice law simply for working for those whom Democrats deem the “wrong” people?