A New York court suspended former New York City mayor-turned-Trump campaign counsel Rudy Giuliani’s law license on Thursday, ruling that Giuliani had made “false and misleading statements” while contesting the 2020 presidential election results in a number of key states.
The move opens up the possibility that Giuliani, who has made a living as an attorney after leaving office, could be disbarred in New York.
“The New York State appellate court temporarily suspended Mr. Giuliani’s law license on the recommendation of a disciplinary committee after finding he had sought to mislead judges, lawmakers, and the public as he helped shepherd Mr. Trump’s legal challenge to the election results,” The New York Times reported. “For months, Mr. Giuliani had argued without merit that the vote had been rife with fraud and that voting machines had been rigged.”
The court also accused Giuliani of having “directly inflamed” Trump’s supporters, making him at least partially responsible for the January 6th riot at the United States Capitol.
“In its decision, the court said Mr. Giuliani’s actions represented an ‘immediate threat’ to the public and that he had ‘directly inflamed’ the tensions that led to the Capitol riot in January,” the Times noted.
“[W]e conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020,” the court said. The statements, the court added, “were made to improperly bolster respondent’s narrative that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from his client.”
Fox News reported Thursday that Giuliani faces a number of individual complaints stemming from his time representing Trump, though many of the complaints seem to have arisen out of Giuliani’s legal arguments.
Examples of the statements included claims that more absentee ballots were submitted in Pennsylvania than were distributed, despite state records showing this to be false, and claims that thousands of dead people voted in Philadelphia (sometimes said to be 8,021, but also claimed to be 30,000), including former boxing great Joe Frazier. The court noted that the state canceled Frazier’s voting eligibility three months after he died in 2012. The ruling also said that Giuliani misrepresented the nature of a court case involving the election in Pennsylvania, where he made fraud-related arguments despite the fact that fraud claims were not being made.
“The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated. This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden,” the court concluded its decision, handed down Thursday morning.
The court hinted that Giuliani will face “permanent sanctions.”
Giuliani is not in immediate danger of being driven from the practice of law — he is also licensed in Washington, D.C. — but his lawyers were clear that they believe the New York court’s decision represents a threat to attorneys across the board.
“This is unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest,” they said. “We believe that once the issues are fully explored at a hearing, Mr. Giuliani will be reinstated as a valued member of the legal profession that he has served so well in his many capacities for so many years.”