Court Battles

Giuliani takes the stand in hearing over his DC law license

AP Photo/John Bazemore
Rudy Giuliani arrives at the Fulton County Courthouse on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Atlanta.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani defended his actions Monday as he faces possible sanctioning from the D.C. Bar that could result in the loss of his law license after he brought faulty election fraud claims in seeking to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election.

The discipline hearing before the D.C. Bar’s Board on Professional Responsibility (BPR) largely centered on actions Giuliani took in Pennsylvania, one of the post-election lawsuits he handled directly.

“What this case is about is that Mr. Giuliani was responsible for filing a frivolous action, asking a federal court to deprive millions of the people in Pennsylvania of their right to vote,” Phil Fox, an attorney for the BPR, said in his opening remarks at the start of the hearing.

“There was no precedent for this. In addition to the fact that there was no precedent, there was no factual basis [for the suit],” Fox added.

The Trump team filed more than 60 lawsuits in the wake of the election, failing to win a single one. While Giuliani oversaw the bulk of the litigation, he was most actively involved in the litigation in Pennsylvania, where former President Trump lost by roughly 80,000 votes.

Giuliani’s attorney John Leventhal argued that he had a reasonable basis for pursuing the fraud allegations he raised in Pennsylvania and that there was no evidence that Giuliani “intentionally violated” any of the professional conduct rules.

“The claims based on the denial of equal protection and due process were properly plead and were certainly not frivolous,” Leventhal said. 

Giuliani himself took hours of questions from the bar association in the first day of a trial scheduled for the next two weeks.

He told the panel, “I really believe I’ve been persecuted for three or four years.”

“My role was to show how Pennsylvania involved the same set of eight or 10 suspicious actions — illegal actions, whatever you want to call them, irregular actions — that could not be the product of accident,” he said.

In one instance, Giuliani complained about questioning on one of the claims in his case, noting that it came just days after the election and they expected to have more time to investigate their assertions.

In another, Giuliani sparked conversation on Twitter after he looked down at his wrist, noticing he was wearing two watches.

Following the hearing, the BPR will decide whether to adopt the report prepared by Fox, though the District of Columbia Court of Appeals will ultimately decide whether to penalize Giuliani, a punishment that could range from being reprimanded by the court to losing his law license.

Giuliani has already had his New York law license suspended — a determination he is challenging — and is not the only Trump attorney to face sanctioning from the D.C. Bar over his role in challenging the 2020 election results. 

Jeffrey Clark, an attorney at the Justice Department who Trump weighed installing as attorney general to investigate the fraud claims Giuliani is now being reprimanded over, is also facing disciplinary action before the board.

The suit in question at Monday’s hearing came after Giuliani claimed there were widespread irregularities in the state’s voting process, but it was quickly thrown out by a judge — a decision later upheld by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Fox said the remedies prescribed by Giuliani ranged from asking the court to throw out anywhere from 680,000 to 7 million voters.

“No court ever in the history of the United States has ever considered anything close to that remedy. And, of course, the courts summarily refused to do so, dismissed the complaint, affirmed by the Third Circuit, because there was no basis, on fact, to do that,” he said.

Tags 2020 election DC bar Rudy Giuliani Rudy Giuliani
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