DC Legal Ethics Panel Recommends Disbarment for Trump Attorney Giuliani

July 8, 2023 by Tom Ramstack
DC Legal Ethics Panel Recommends Disbarment for Trump Attorney Giuliani
FILE - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani departs the federal courthouse, Friday, May 19, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON — Lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is vowing to fight a recommendation Friday from the District of Columbia Bar that he be disbarred.

The unanimous decision by the Bar’s Board on Professional Responsibility cited Giuliani’s baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by voter fraud from then-President Donald Trump.

Giuliani “claimed massive election fraud but had no evidence,” wrote the three-member ethics committee in a report.

Giuliani made many of the claims in a lawsuit he filed in Pennsylvania while representing Trump that sought a court order to overturn the election.

Other Trump lawyers filed similar lawsuits in several states, all of which were dismissed or denied. Trump lawyer John Eastman faces disbarment in California and attorney Lin Wood surrendered his license in Georgia last week.

“By prosecuting that destructive case Mr. Giuliani, a sworn officer of the court, forfeited his right to practice law. He should be disbarred,” the panel’s report said.

The D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility’s report was written by Robert C. Bernius, Jay A. Brozost and Carolyn Haynesworth-Murrell after they held weeks of hearings that included testimony from Giuliani and his close associates.

Giuliani argued that he was merely invoking the Sixth Amendment right to representation of counsel of his client by claiming voter fraud made Trump lose the election. Trump allowed Giuliani to testify at the hearings after waiving attorney-client privilege.

Giuliani also said he was exercising his First Amendment right to free speech with his comments.

The Board of Professional Responsibility disagreed, saying Giuliani violated his sworn duties as a lawyer by filing a “frivolous” lawsuit. He repeated the claims of voter fraud in television and radio interviews.

“Mr. Giuliani’s effort to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election has helped destabilize our democracy,” the panel’s report said.

Giuliani can appeal the disbarment recommendation to a larger panel of the Board on Professional Responsibility.

One of his attorneys said in a statement, “We are obviously disappointed by the committee’s decision but look forward to filing a vigorous appeal.”

A final decision on disbarment lies with the D.C. Court of Appeals. The court rarely reverses unanimous decisions from the Board on Professional Responsibility.

Giuliani’s license as an attorney in New York was suspended in June 2021.

Ted Goodman, a political adviser to Giuliani, demonstrated the former mayor and federal prosecutor’s ongoing defiance in a statement.

The ethics committee’s decision “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,” Goodman said.

“This is the sort of behavior we’d expect out of the Soviet Union, not America,” he added.

The case is In re: Rudolph W. Giuliani before the D.C. Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility.

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