DC Bar’s disciplinary counsel recommends Rudy Giuliani be disbarred

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(WASHINGTON) — The District of Columbia Bar association’s disciplinary counsel called Thursday for Rudy Giuliani’s disbarment after a preliminary finding that Giuliani violated at least one rule of attorney practice when, as the attorney for then-President Donald Trump, he pressed a baseless, failed legal challenge to the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.

“This case, the seriousness of the misconduct, calls for only one sanction and that is a sanction of disbarment,” Phil Fox, a lawyer for the D.C. Bar, said at a disciplinary hearing in Washington. “I think it was a fundamental harm to the fabric of the country that could well be irreparable.”

Thursday’s hearing is only a step in a long process that could lead to Giuliani’s disbarment in the nation’s capital. His law license has already been suspended — but not revoked — in New York, where a court last year found he made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” about his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Giuliani has appealed the decision.

Giuliani’s attorney, John Leventhal, said Thursday that Giuliani’s service to the nation mitigated the need for the District of Columbia to disbar him.

“Let’s take politics out of this equation and treat Mr. Giuliani like any other lawyer,” said Leventhal.

“A letter of reprimand or private admonition” would be more appropriate, Leventhal said.

Fox called Giuliani’s previous service as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and as mayor of the city of New York “admirable,” but told the disciplinary committee it did not justify a sanction less than disbarment.

“It’s like it’s two different people,” Fox said during the hearing. “There’s the person who responded the way very few people could have responded to 9/11 … and there’s the person who tried to undermine the legitimacy of a presidential election without a basis to do so.”

“I would like to personally object to Mr. Fox’s attack on me as having tried to undermine American democracy when there’s not a single fact in the record to support that argument,” Giuliani responded as Leventhal and another defense attorney, Barry Kamins, urged him to stop. “It is a typical unethical cheap attack.”

A decision from the disciplinary committee is expected in late February or early March. The D.C. Court of Appeals would make a final decision on whether Giuliani would be disbarred, a determination that could have consequences on his ability to practice law in other places.

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