Court Battles

Lawyers group calls for Giuliani’s suspension from law practice, ethics probe

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A national lawyers group on Thursday filed an ethics complaint against Rudy Giuliani that asked a New York court panel to suspend the Trump ally’s law license and undertake a review of his role in promoting false election fraud claims that some argue fueled the insurrection at the Capitol.

The 18-page ethics complaint from the non-partisan group Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD) alleges that Giuliani’s conduct on behalf of former President Trump crossed “ethical boundaries” that separate zealous legal advocacy from attorney misconduct.

“Mr. Giuliani personally advanced and argued claims in court that were frivolous and had no reasonable purpose other than to fuel the extrajudicial campaign of falsehoods,” the petition states.

The complaint urges the grievance committee of the New York courts to suspend Giuliani from practicing law while it investigates further.

Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Giuliani was the most prominent lawyer leading Trump’s failed effort to overturn President Biden’s election victory. Both Trump and his allies falsely alleged that the election results were subject to rampant voter fraud.

The former New York City mayor also appeared at a Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally during which he called on Trump’s supporters to engage in “trial by combat.” Following his remarks, some of the supporters marched to the Capitol and breached its security, interrupting Congress’s certification of Biden’s win. The violent event left five dead. 

Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University and an ethics expert, told LDAD that Giuliani’s post-election conduct warrants investigation.

“In his extensive court filings and public statements baselessly challenging the legitimacy of the election, and by urging ‘trial by combat’ to impede the operation of the Constitution and laws of the United States, Rudolph Giuliani has behaved disgracefully,” he told the group. 

Pro-Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood have also been accused separately of pressing lawsuits containing unreliable assertions, flimsy claims and even outright lies, in violation of their obligations as officers of the court.

As a result of these post-election efforts, a growing number of judges and bar associations may soon be tasked with sorting out whether the conduct amounted to hard-fought advocacy or crossed an ethical line.

Tags Capitol breach Donald Trump ethics complaint Rudy Giuliani
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