MANHATTAN (CN) — Finding "uncontroverted evidence" that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer," an appeals court ordered the suspension Thursday of Giuliani’s license to practice law in the Empire State.
"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," the unsigned 33-page opinion states, referring to former President Donald Trump.
Giuliani’s counsel, John M. Leventhal and Barry Kamins with the criminal defense firm Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, said they are disappointed with the suspension “prior to being afforded a hearing on the issues that are alleged.”
“This is unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest,” the pair of retired judges wrote in a joint statement Thursday. “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."
The former Southern District of New York federal prosecutor was suspended after making what amounted to false statements about mail-in voting in the battleground state of Pennsylvania during the 2020 election. Giuliani recited these on two radio shows — “Uncovering the Truth with Rudy Giuliani & Dr. Maria Ryan” and “Chat with the Mayor” — as well as the podcast “Steve Bannon's the War Room: Pandemic," the five-judge panel of the Appellate Division's First Judicial Department found.
In late April, Southern District prosecutors raided Giuliani’s Manhattan home and offices and seized electronic devices. Giuliani, who served as the top federal prosecutor in the district from June 3, 1983, until January 1, 1989, immediately denounced the probe as politically motivated. As New York City mayor from 1994 to 2001, Giuliani left office shortly after the World Trade Center attack of Sept. 11 but stayed politically active. He was the first registered Republican since Fiorello H. La Guardia in 1941 to win a second term as mayor on the GOP ticket.
The New York State Bar Association announced Thursday afternoon that is immediately removing Rudy Giuliani as a member of the association "because of his suspension from the practice of law."
"Nothing means more to us than the integrity of the profession and we applaud the work of the attorney disciplinary committee in safeguarding the public," the NYSBA said in a statement. "It is equally important that we recognize the ongoing legal process and Rudy Giuliani’s right to defend himself. We will await the completion of the disciplinary process before taking further action.”
Giuliani's son Andrew, who is running as GOP candidate for governor of New York in 2022, denounced his father's suspension as the "politicized" decision of all-Democrat panel of judges to punish a Trump ally. "It is a cancer that needs to be cut out and it needs be cut out now," the younger Giuliani fumed in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon.
NBC reported in December 2020 that the investigation of Giuliani by his successors at the Southern District has been months in the making, seeking access to phone and electronic communications in coordination with Justice Department officials in Washington.
In a letter unsealed last month, Giuliani’s defense team castigated the Southern District of New York for treating Trump’s former personal attorney like a terrorist or drug cartel kingpin “in order to create maximum prejudicial coverage of both Giuliani, and his most well-known client — the former President of the United States.”
The New York State Bar Association announced that it had launched an inquiry of Giuliani in the wake of the attempted insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Immediately preceding the breach of Capitol by far-right extremists, Giuliani incited pro-Trump attendees of a nearby “Save America” rally to “have trial by combat.”
“Over the next 10 days we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent, and if we’re wrong, we will be made fools of,” Giuliani said on Jan. 6. “But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail." The gathering came after Giuliani spent months pushing debunked claims that Dominion Voting Systems machines had been tampered with to tabulate votes in favor of Trump's Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.
Later that month, a group of attorneys called Lawyers Defending American Democracy called on a New York disciplinary panel to immediately suspend Giuliani’s law license pending an investigation.
Giuliani’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election have landed him as a co-defendant in multiple defamation cases, including suits in Washington federal court and Manhattan Supreme Court.
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