Rudy Giuliani may have his law license suspended or revoked as a result of a preliminary finding that he broke at least one professional rule while assisting former President Donald Trump in challenging the outcome of the 2020 election. This conclusion was made by a bar discipline committee in Washington, D.C.
The three-person disciplinary committee concurred that Giuliani’s handling of the Pennsylvania lawsuit went beyond the pale. They reached this conclusion after hearing testimony from Giuliani for a week, as well as some of his allies, such as Trump advisers Bernie Kerik, Christina Bobb, and Corey Lewandowski. Giuliani claimed that Trump waived the attorney-client privilege to allow him to testify.
The D.C. Bar’s Phil Fox conducted the investigation and presented the case for Giuliani’s punishment. “Mr. Giuliani has testified on several occasions that he believes there was a conspiracy,” Fox said. He was the leader of a conspiracy, according to the claim.
Giuliani’s hasty attempt to file lawsuits to invalidate hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania votes without any concrete evidence of election fraud was the foundation of Fox’s argument. In his testimony, Giuliani discussed his hasty trip to Pennsylvania on November 4 in a car with former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to contest the Pennsylvania election results and start spreading unfounded allegations of election fraud.
According to Fox, Giuliani should be barred for his behavior.
“I think the harm that was done is unprecedented,” Fox said. “The only sanction that’s appropriate for this kind of misconduct is disbarment.”
The committee will now review Fox and Giuliani’s written submissions before making a final determination.
Giuliani argued that the short time frames needed for litigating election challenges caused his efforts to be extremely hurried. He discussed his attempts to collect affidavits and proof of election fraud.
Giuliani began a lengthy and vehement defense of his actions following the presentations, despite his attorney’s attempts to prevent him from speaking.
Giuliani referred to Fox’s presentation as “a typical, unethical, cheap attack” and reiterated his claim that there is a strong case to be made that the 2020 election was rigged. “I’ll put my work on democracy … up against Mr. Fox and anyone else. For that man to engage in that kind of a personal attack when there was no record of that, and for you to allow him to do that, I consider an outrage.”
“I don’t know what has happened to the defense of lawyers who take on unpopular causes,” Giuliani continued.
Giuliani and his attorneys expressed repeated frustration over their inability to address the specific allegations made against him because the committee withheld information regarding the professional standards it believes he violated.
After the panel’s conclusion was announced, John Leventhal, Giuliani’s attorney, questioned, “How can we respond?
The disciplinary committee pointed out that a lawyer who sued a dry cleaner for $90 million over a lost pair of pants received a 90-day suspension of his law license. They also noted that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has a six-part test for determining whether an attorney should be disbarred.
Fox, however, claimed that case was insignificant compared to Giuliani’s attempts to deny hundreds of thousands of voters their right to vote.
“I don’t think that the comparison of an extremely frivolous complaint over a pair of pants against a dry cleaner compare with violating the basic oath we all take to support the constitution and to try to undermine the legitimacy of the election,” Fox said.
Leventhal argued that Giuliani’s long history of service in the Justice Department and as New York City mayor during the 9/11 attacks and aftermath are worth factoring into his discipline.
“Why not treat Mr. Giuliani like any other lawyer,” Leventhal said.