By Allan Smith
Thursday June 24, 2021
A New York appellate court on Thursday suspended Rudy Giuliani's law license after finding he made "demonstrably false and misleading" statements about last year's election while serving as former President Donald Trump's attorney.
In a 33-page decision, the court panel wrote: "We conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020."
"These false statements were made to improperly bolster respondent’s narrative that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from his client," the ruling continued. "We conclude that respondent’s conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law, pending further proceedings before the Attorney Grievance Committee."
Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney and mayor of New York City, can appeal the decision but can’t practice law at this time in New York. In a statement, his attorneys expressed disappointment with the ruling, which they said took place before Giuliani could present his case in a hearing.
"This is unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest," Giuliani attorneys John Leventhal and Barry Kamins said. "We believe that once the issues are fully explored at a hearing Mr. Giuliani will be reinstated as a valued member of the legal profession that he has served so well in his many capacities for so many years."
Speaking to reporters outside his Manhattan home, Giuliani called the ruling "ridiculous."
"How can they say I lied without a hearing," he said. "They haven’t questioned me."
The panel examined several comments made by Giuliani and the defenses he offered of them to the court, and rejected Giuliani's argument that the investigation violated his First Amendment speech protections.
"This disciplinary proceeding concerns the professional restrictions imposed on respondent as an attorney to not knowingly misrepresent facts and make false statements in connection with his representation of a client," the decision sates. "It is long recognized that 'speech by an attorney is subject to greater regulation than speech by others.'"
The panel also reviewed false claims Giuliani made about the number of mail-in ballots requested in Pennsylvania. Giuliani's defense was that he did not know those assertions were false and that a member of his "team" had gotten incorrect data from the state's website.
But the court said: "There is simply no proof to support this explanation."