This post has been updated since it was originally published to include recent facts
Things are going from bad to worse for Rudy Giuliani, as the 78-year-old former New York City mayor and former top federal prosecutor faces losing his law license in Washington, DC for the false election fraud claims that he made when he was representing former President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2020. According to NBC News, the District of Columbia Bar Association’s disciplinary counsel said that Giuliani should be disbarred after a panel determined he violated a rule of professional conduct when he attempted to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.
Giuliani’s New York law license was suspended in June 2021 after a state appeals court determined that he made “demonstrably false and misleading” statements that widespread voter fraud undermined the election which was won by now President Joe Biden.
Rudy Giuliani Faces Disbarment In Washington, DC
Disciplinary counsel, Hamilton Fox, said Giuliani's misconduct in Pennsylvania was part of a broader effort to undermine the legitimacy of an election, saying he "weaponized his law license to bring a frivolous action in an attempt to undermine the Constitution."
The Court of Appeals will ultimately have the final decision on whether Giuliani will be disbarred, but Giuliani’s attorney, John Leventhal, has reportedly argued that there is no evidence that Giuliani "intentionally violated" the rules of professional conduct, and there was "reasonable" support for the allegations of fraud Giuliani presented in the 2020 election suit.
What Does The Public Think?
Social media had a lot of thoughts about whether Giuliani should lose his license; and for once, it was almost unanimous! "Rudy lied to every committee member and judge. If that isn't a reason to be disbarred, then what is?" read one comment to NBC's article. "Yes, yes it is warranted," said another. Another Twitter user said he "Absolutely" should be disbarred, adding: "While he did not lie in court — when a judge asked him if he was claiming fraud he answered 'no, your honor' — but he did assist in the attempted overthrow of the US government while the attorney for the head of the coup."
"Hell yes. Anyone working to undermine the United States should be disbarred for life throughout the nation," another user wrote, while another asked: "What's the point of having ethics standards if seditious clowns like Giuliani can ignore them?" "He deserves to lose his law license and go to jail," another user commented. Another added, "Yes, he should also be prosecuted for attempting to overthrow the US government." "As I understand it, he lied to multiple courts. He is a blemish on the legal profession and needs to be disciplined. Suspension followed by probation at least," commented another.
Rudy Giuliani Reportedly Failed To ‘Answer Basic Questions’ At Misconduct Hearing
Rudy Giuliani allegedly lost his composure last month while appearing as the first witness in his own attorney-misconduct hearing. As reported by Business Insider, he seemed unable to answer simple and straightforward questions from the opposing counsel, and frequently "veered off course."
What Does The Ethics Case Entail?
The ethics case in question was brought by the Washington DC bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, and focuses on the politician's attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania. This was when Giuliani was the personal attorney of then-President Donald Trump. The office alleges that Giuliani filed a "frivolous" lawsuit and sought out to nullify Pennsylvania's presidential-election results. Giuliani's claims of widespread voter fraud, the office alleges, occurred despite "no factual or legal basis."
Giuliani ultimately violated the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct by filing this lawsuit, according to the office, and he also "engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice."
What Happened During Giuliani's Hearing?
In his opening arguments, Hamilton Fox, the disciplinary counsel, said that Giuliani "weaponized his law license" when attempting to undermine the Constitution."Mr. Giuliani was responsible for filing a frivolous action asking a court in Pennsylvania to deny millions of people the right to vote," Fox noted during the virtual hearing.
Fox grew, as Insider writes, "increasingly frustrated" with Giuliani as the proceedings went on. At one point, when Fox tried to get more information from Giuliani about his role in litigating the Pennsylvania case, the politician repeatedly "veered off course" and "started airing nonsense allegations of voter fraud" in other states.
"Mr. Giuliani, I am trying to find out what your role was in writing — in drafting — the initial complaint in Pennsylvania," Fox said. "I'm asking you what time it is, and you're telling me how to make a watch." Giuliani replied, "Well, you know, I really do think you should let me answer the question so I can get the context in which I was operating." He added, "So you don't create the false impression that all my time and attention was given to one matter when that was not the case."
At another point, Fox reminded Giuliani once more that he was at the hearing to answer questions as a witness, when he started opining on a 5-2 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling about voting procedures in the state. Giuliani then said of the ruling,"I recall this very, very clearly. This is a very debatable opinion."
Fox then ignored Giuliani's words and instead emphasized that the ruling held that election observers "be permitted to remain in the room where the ballots are being counted." Giuliani said, "So you would agree that my position is reasonable, since it was the same position as" the dissenters. He added, "It was hardly — " before Fox cut him off, stressing, "Mr. Giuliani, I ask the questions."
And Fox wasn't alone, as Robert Bernius, a retired lawyer who presided over the hearings, also apparently "tried multiple times" to bring Giuliani back to the actual matter at hand. "Mr. Giuliani, I understand your frustration, but this is not the point at which you should argue your claims," he said. "Just answer the questions. Thank you."
Earlier in the day, Bernius also interrupted another "long-winded rant" from Giuliani to remind him yet again that his purpose for the day was to testify as a witness. Giuliani then said he had been "persecuted for three or more years" and that his actions were somehow taken out of context. "You've been a trial lawyer for a long time, and you understand how the process works," Bernius noted. "The process is regularized."