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Former mayor, current Trump lawyer Giuliani faces New York State bar inquiry

U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani gestures as he speaks as Trump supporters gather by the White House ahead of his speech to contest the certification by the U.S. Congress of the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.
REUTERS/Jim Bourg

After helping to incite the Trump mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, former U.S. Attorney and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani now faces an inquiry from the New York State Bar Association that could lead to his disbarment.

Giuliani, who now serves as Trump’s personal attorney, and the outgoing president were among the litany of speakers who whipped up the mob just hours before it stormed the U.S. Capitol in protest of Congress’ certification of the presidential election results.

The assault left five people, including a Capitol Police officer, dead, and sent Vice President Mike Pence and House and Senate members into lockdown for hours, briefly interrupting the proceedings.

Should the association disbar Giuliani, he would out of the association — though he would be permitted to continue practicing law, pending state action.

Prior to being elected mayor of New York City in 1993, Giuliani garnered a “law and order” reputation while serving as a federal prosecutor — indicting and trying mafia bosses such as John Gotti more than 30 years ago. 

But there seemed to be no law and order in the Capitol on Jan. 6 after Giuliani, Trump and other speakers addressed thousands of Trump supporters near the Ellipse in Washington D.C. 

During his pre-coup speech, Giuliani called for a “trial by combat” while parroting Trump’s lies that the election was stolen from him in a massive conspiracy. Giuliani had been part of the Trump campaign’s failed legal efforts to overturn the results of elections in swing states, with more than 60 such cases being thrown out of court, and the results kept in tact.

“If were wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail,” Giuliani told the crowd. “Let’s have trial by combat.”

After the Trump mob attacked the Capitol, Giuliani condemned the violence while simultaneously equivocating it to destruction that occurred during protests “by the Left” last summer. The Capitol building was not attacked during last summer’s protests in Washington.

The New York State Bar Association, however, sees Giuliani’s action as being complicit with a Trumpian effort to overthrow the U.S. government.

“Mr. Giuliani’s words quite clearly were intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election’s outcome to take matters into their own hands,” the NYSBA said in a statement Monday. “Their subsequent attack on the Capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power.”

The association said it has received “hundreds of complaints against Mr. Giuliani” over “his baseless efforts on behalf of President Trump to cast doubt on the veracity of the 2020 presidential election and, to overturn its legitimate results.” The cases, the association stated, were entered into court action “without any evidentiary basis whatsoever,” and were promptly dismissed.

“Based on these complaints, and the statement Mr. Giuliani uttered shortly before the attack on the Capitol, NYSBA President Scott M. Karson has launched an inquiry pursuant to the Association’s bylaws to determine whether Mr. Giuliani should be removed from the membership rolls of the Association,” the NYSBA said in a statement.

Giuliani would get his date in court, so to speak, before the bar association “and have an opportunity — should he so choose — to explain and defend his words and actions,” the association noted.

“This decision is historic for NYSBA, and we have not made it lightly,” the association added. “We cannot stand idly by and allow those intent on rending the fabric of our democracy to go unchecked.”

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