by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times
June 24, 2021
NEW YORK — The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court concluded Thursday that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be temporarily barred from practicing law after a finding that he made false statements to courts and others while representing former President Donald Trump.
Multiple complaints were filed against Giuliani, and the disciplinary proceedings are based on claims of misleading comments made in court, in the media, and elsewhere about the 2020 election.
“We conclude that there is undisputed evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers, and the general public in his capacity as a lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed reelection bid in 2020,” the ruling stated.
Among the claims were that more absentee ballots were submitted in Pennsylvania than were distributed, despite state records proving this to be false, and that thousands of dead people, including former boxing great Joe Frazier, voted in Philadelphia (sometimes said to be 8,021, but also claimed to be 30,000). Frazier’s voting rights were revoked by the state three months after his death in 2012, according to the court. According to the judgement, Giuliani misrepresented the nature of a court action involving the Pennsylvania election, in which he made fraud-related arguments despite the fact that no fraud accusations were made.
Additional allegations against Giuliani include unsubstantiated statements he made about large numbers of underage voters, dead voters, and votes cast by ineligible convicted felons, only to have state investigations prove otherwise, statements that Georgia ballots were manipulated by voting machines, and statements alleging that varying numbers of illegal immigrants voted in Arizona.
Giuliani has maintained that he did not make any misleading remarks knowing they were false at the time.
The suspension is “interim,” meaning it will last until entire disciplinary proceedings against him are completed. The court acknowledged that this is a harsh measure, but it believes it is necessary in the face of a “immediate threat to the public interest.”
The New York Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern the conduct of attorneys in the state, are said to have been broken by Giuliani’s words. According to the court’s decision, the former mayor will most certainly face “significant permanent sanctions” when the case is completed.
“We are disappointed with the Appellate Division, First Department’s decision suspending Mayor Giuliani prior to being afforded a hearing on the issues that are alleged,” Giuliani’s attorneys John Leventhal and Barry Kamins said following the ruling. “This is unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest. 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.”