IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Disciplinary panel recommends Giuliani disbarment over 'utter disregard for facts' in 2020 election

An attorney committee for the DC Bar said the former Trump lawyer should lose his law license over a "malicious and meritless" lawsuit that sought to toss thousands of votes.
Rudy Giuliani at a press conference in the White House on Sept. 27, 2020.
Rudy Giuliani in the White House in 2020.Chris Kleponis / Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images file

A disciplinary board for the DC Bar Association recommended Friday that former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani be stripped of his law license over reckless fraud claims after the 2020 election.

The panel announced its findings in a 38-page decision centered on a post-election lawsuit Giuliani filed in an effort to dismiss thousands of votes in the battleground state of Pennsylvania won by President Joe Biden.

"Mr. Giuliani’s effort to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election has helped destabilize our democracy. His malicious and meritless claims have done lasting damage," the panel wrote.

"He claimed massive election fraud but had no evidence of it. By prosecuting that destructive case Mr. Giuliani, a sworn officer of the Court, forfeited his right to practice law," the panel added. “His utter disregard for facts denigrates the legal profession.”

The three-person committee's findings will now go to the full nine-member disciplinary board. If the board agrees with the finding, it'll be sent to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the final decision maker in disciplinary cases.

An attorney for Giuliani, Barry Kamins, said an appeal is forthcoming.

"We are obviously disappointed in the Committee’s recommendation but look forward to filing a vigorous appeal to the Board on Professional Responsibility and, if necessary, the Court," Kamins said in a statement.

Ted Goodman, a spokesperson for Giuliani, added in a statement that the committee's action on Friday was “part of a larger effort to deny President Trump effective counsel by persecuting Mayor Giuliani—objectively one of the most effective prosecutors in American history.”

“I call on rank-and-file members of the DC Bar Association to speak out in defense of Mayor Giuliani and against this great injustice,” Goodman said.

Giuliani has been involved in other election-related probes. He has been interviewed by federal investigators as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and last year he testified before a grand jury in Atlanta as part of an investigation where he was informed that he’s a “target” of that criminal probe.

The DC Bar committee's recommendation builds on a preliminary recommendation in December that Giuliani be disbarred following a hearing that included testimony from the former New York City mayor.

The Pennsylvania lawsuit in question focused on allegations that election observers had been kept too far back during voting, and on complaints from a pair of Trump voters that they had not been allowed to "cure" their defective ballots.

"[N]either complaint factually linked either of those circumstances to widespread improper voting. They contained only vague and speculative allegations about random and isolated electoral irregularities which did not and could not support Respondent’s inflated legal claims," the panel wrote on Friday.

Giuliani, the panel said, pressed on anyway, claiming there had been a “'a deliberate scheme of intentional and purposeful discrimination' against the Trump campaign, concluding that Democrats 'stole an election . . . in this Commonwealth' and that he had 'hundreds of affidavits' supporting his assertion. These claims were simply not true."

Giuliani "based the Pennsylvania litigation only on speculation, mistrust, and suspicion," the panel said, adding that he then sought a court order disqualifying ballots in heavily Democratic counties and an order blocking the state from certifying the election results.

Giuliani told the panel that time was of the essence so he had to file the suit before he had evidence to back up the claim. That evidence never materialized.

Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania.

"We cannot clearly and convincingly say that Mr. Giuliani intentionally lied to the District Court in connection with the Pennsylvania litigation, and he was not charged with doing so. But his hyperbolic claims of election fraud and the core thesis of the Pennsylvania litigation were utterly false, and recklessly so," the panel said, noting Giuliani has not expressed any regrets.

"To the contrary, he has declared his indignation (he is “shocked and offended”) over being subjected to the disciplinary process (“I really believe I’ve been persecuted for three or four years”)," the panel noted.

The members added that they "considered in mitigation Mr. Giuliani’s conduct following the September 11 attacks as well as his prior service in the Justice Department and as Mayor of New York City. But all of that happened long ago."

"The misconduct here sadly transcends all his past accomplishments. It was unparalleled in its destructive purpose and effect," they added. "He sought to disrupt a presidential election and persists in his refusal to acknowledge the wrong he has done. For these reasons, we unanimously recommend that Mr. Giuliani be disbarred."