Committee Says Giuliani Violated Ethics Rules Following 2020 Election

A District of Columbia attorney ethics committee said Thursday that Rudy Giuliani violated at least one attorney ethics rule while carrying out a lawsuit challenging the results of the 2020 election on behalf of then U.S. President Donald Trump, recommending disciplinary action for the 78-year-old former prosecutor.

Rudy GiulianiPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

The committee of the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility will recommend one of three penalties for Giuliani – disbarment, suspension of his D.C. law license or a formal censure. He faces allegations that he breached ethics rules against bringing frivolous lawsuits and harming the administration of justice.

Member of the D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Hamilton “Phil” Fox, told the panel on Thursday he believes Giuliani should be disbarred, saying he attempted to undermine the U.S. Constitution and “ignore the will of the voters.” Giuliani’s lawyer, John Leventhal, requested the committee only impose a letter of reprimand or a private admonition.

Giuliani accused Fox of carrying out a “personal attack,” noting, “I don’t know what happened to the defense of lawyers who take on unpopular causes.”

Once agreed upon, the committee’s disciplinary recommendation will have to go before the full board and then the D.C. Court of Appeals for a final vote.

Last week the committee convened to hear allegations that Giuliani violated legal ethics rules by filing a lawsuit seeking to invalidate hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballot votes from the state of Pennsylvania.

Leventhal said the core of the suit was not centered around voter fraud but social distancing restrictions imposed on election observers and policies in some counties that allowed voters to address mistakes on mail ballots.

“A reasonable attorney can make that argument without being frivolous,” he said.

During the proceeding Giuliani testified that what he was accused of doing was appropriate for a lawyer building a case for a client. He claimed Trump’s legal team had too narrow a window of time to vet allegations of irregularities following the 2020 election.

Before serving as Trump’s personal lawyer in charge of the strategy to challenge the 2020 election results, Giuliana was a federal prosecutor in Manhattan and New York City mayor. His New York state law license was suspended in June 2021 after a state appeals court found he had made “demonstrably false and misleading” statements that widespread voter fraud undermined the election.

His D.C. law license was temporarily suspended following the New York decision.

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