Rudy Giuliani’s license to practice law in New York has been suspended, a result of the former New York City mayor leading the crusade to subvert the 2020 election on ex-President Donald Trump’s behalf.
A New York appellate court slapped Giuliani with the order on Thursday morning, stating that “there is uncontroverted evidence” that he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large” in his capacity as a lawyer to Trump and the Trump campaign.
“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,” read a per curium decision from the court announcing the news.
“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 (sometimes AGC or Committee).”
Giuliani had protested that the AGC’s investigation into his conduct violated the first amendment, the court noted.
“He does not attack the constitutionality of the particular disciplinary rules; he seemingly claims that they are unconstitutional as applied to him,” the ruling said. “We reject respondent’s argument.”
The court highlighted the dangerous nature of Giuliani’s lies, pointing directly at the violent Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 that preceded the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally where Giuliani had called for “a trial by combat.”
“The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated,” the court wrote. “This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden.”
Additionally, “[o]ne only has to look at the ongoing present public discord over the 2020 election, which erupted into violence, insurrection and death on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol, to understand the extent of the damage that can be done when the public is misled by false information about the elections,” the ruling said.
The order noted that Giuliani had alluded to affidavits and sources of information — which he did not provide the court — that he said had backed up his claims. They didn’t help Giuliani’s case.
“We do not understand, nor does respondent explain why, as a private attorney seemingly unconnected to law enforcement he would have access to a ‘confidential informant’ that we cannot also have access to,” the court noted in a footnote.
“At yet another point respondent claims he relies on a Trump attorney who chooses not to be identified. Respondent also refers to hundreds of witnesses, experts, and investigative reports, none of which have been provided or identified and an Excel spreadsheet, also not provided, purportedly listing the names of thousands of deceased voters who allegedly cast ballots in Michigan.”
The New York court pointed at several examples of Giuliani’s disinformation campaign, including a November meeting with Arizona legislators at a hotel in Phoenix, during which the attorney baselessly claimed that “illegal aliens” had voted in the election. But despite the clear lack of evidence, the court noted, Giuliani went on to parrot similar lies about undocumented immigrants in other venues, such as when he claimed “way more than 10,000 illegal immigrants voted” during his Chat With the Mayor radio show on December 17.
All the while, the court observed, Giuliani kept changing the number of undocumented immigrants he claimed had voted. The attorney said it was “probably about 250,000” during an appearance on Steve Bannon’s podcast in December, then the figure changed to 32,000 when he spoke to Bannon again in a different episode. He also admitted he didn’t have the “best sources” to back up his claim, the court pointed out.
“On their face, these numerical claims are so wildly divergent and irreconcilable, that they all cannot be true at the same time. Some of the wild divergences were even stated by respondent in the very same sentence,” the court wrote.
The New York court also zeroed in on Giuliani’s performance in a Trump campaign lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania — Giuliani’s first appearance in federal court in decades — in which the Trump lawyer alleged widespread election fraud in the state despite not formally listing that fraud as part of his case. By that point, Giuliani had repeatedly asserted that hundreds of thousands of votes in the state ought to be thrown out.
“Stating that a case presents a fraud claim when it does not, is a false and misleading statement about the status of a pending proceeding,” the New York court said Thursday, adding that “Significant time and effort were expended on respondent’s false misrepresentations to the court regarding the nature of the proceedings. This resulted in respondent’s arguments in support of fraud appearing to be seemingly unanswered on the record and misleading the listening public, because fraud was not a part of the case.”
Giuliani’s claims that thousands of dead people voted in 2020, including the late heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier, who Giuliani name-dropped at his Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, also made it into the New York court’s analysis.
The claim about Frazier, the court said, was plainly false: Frazier was de-registered in 2012. And the court noted it hadn’t seen any evidence to support Giuliani’s public assertion that he was “investigating” dead voters, the court found. Instead, Giuliani pointed as evidence to the thousands of dead voters who were subsequently “purged” from voter rolls this year, well after he made his dead voters claim.
“Purging voter rolls does not prove that the purged voters actually voted in 2020 and per force it does not prove they voted in Philadelphia. It does not even prove that they were dead in November 2020,” the New York court said.
The court continued through the map of Giuliani and Trump’s election subversion rampage: In Georgia, they noted, Giuliani claimed at various times that 65,000, 66,000 or even 165,000 underage voters had illegally cast ballots. An audit from the Georgia secretary of state’s office found… zero underage voters. The same office also investigated Giuliani’s claim that thousands of felons had voted illegally, and that hundreds or thousands of dead people had voted in Georgia. In both cases, of course, Giuliani was wrong.
Giuliani’s claims about some infamous security camera footage out of Georgia also made the ruling. The footage, showing poll workers moving boxes around, became a central part of the Trump camp’s bogus fraud claims in the state.
Contrary to Giuliani’s claim that a reasonable observer would see the video as evidence of illegal activity, the New York court found that “[i]f, as respondent claims, he reviewed the entire video, he could not have reasonably reached a conclusion that illegal votes were being counted.”
The court concluded by quoting Giuliani’s words back at him from his Pennsylvania lawsuit.
“Before Judge Brann in the Boockvar case, respondent himself stated: ‘I don’t know what’s more serious than being denied your right to vote in a democracy.’ We agree,” they wrote. “It is the very reason why espousing false factual information to large segments of the public as a means of discrediting the rights of legitimate voters is so immediately harmful to it and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.”
“Accordingly, the AGC’s motion should be granted and respondent is suspended from the practice of law in the State of New York, effective immediately, and until further order of this Court.”
Read the order below:
This story will be updated.