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D.C. Court of Appeals committee recommends Giuliani be disbarred

A D.C. Court of Appeals committee that oversees attorney conduct recommended Friday that Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and personal attorney to former president Donald Trump, be disbarred, determining he should not be allowed to practice law in the nation’s capital because of his attempt to block the results in the 2020 presidential election in Pennsylvania.

The finding by the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee for the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility follows lengthy hearings in December, in which Giuliani vehemently defended his decision to challenge the election results based on information that he said he had received at the time.

“He claimed massive election fraud but had no evidence of it,” the three-person committee determined. “By prosecuting that destructive case, Mr. Giuliani, a sworn officer of the court, forfeited his right to practice law. He should be disbarred.”

Giuliani has been licensed to practice in the District of Columbia since being admitted to the D.C. Bar in 1976, though he has been in an active, nonpracticing status since 2002.

Requests for comment from Giuliani and his attorney were not immediately returned.

The full board is expected to review the committee’s recommendation later in the year during briefings and oral arguments. The board’s decision would then be reviewed by the D.C. Court of Appeals, which ultimately makes the final decision on disbarments.

President Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes. A day after the Nov. 4, 2020, election, Trump asked Giuliani to investigate what he suggested was voter fraud surrounding mail-in ballots in the state. Giuliani filed a lawsuit seeking to block certification.

The Republican and former New York mayor told committee members that other attorneys were responsible for the language in the lawsuit and that he had little time to thoroughly investigate the allegations himself before filing it.

Hamilton P. Fox III, who argued the case against Giuliani, said at the time Giuliani “weaponized” his law license to “undermine the legitimacy of a presidential election, to undermine the basic premise of the democratic system.”

In its 38-page report Friday, the committee said Giuliani used the court system to file complaints that contained “vague and speculative allegations” that were unsupported.

“Mr. Giuliani,” the committee determined, “did not offer any evidence that fraudulent mail-in votes were actually cast or counted.”

The report, which accused Giuliani of “dishonesty,” was signed by the group’s chairman, Robert C. Bernius, as well as members Carolyn Haynesworth-Murrell and Jay A. Brozost.

“We cannot clearly and convincingly say that Mr. Giuliani intentionally lied,” the committee determined. “But his hyperbolic claims of election fraud and the core thesis of the Pennsylvania litigation were utterly false, and recklessly so. Mr. Giuliani’s rash overstatement claiming that the election was stolen had no evidence to support it. His utter disregard for facts denigrates the legal profession.”

In 2021, the New York state appellate court temporarily suspended Giuliani’s law license on the recommendation of a disciplinary committee, after finding he sought to mislead judges, lawmakers and the public as he helped shepherd Trump’s election results challenge.

correction

An earlier version of this story said the committee’s recommendation came Thursday. It came Friday. This version has been corrected.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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