Eduardo Munoz | Reuters
A New York court on Thursday suspended Rudy Giuliani from practicing law in New York state due to making “false and misleading statements” about the election loss of former President Donald Trump, his client.
The suspension, which takes effect immediately, is a stunning blow to Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who previously served as a top Justice Department official and as the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.
It also comes as Giuliani is under criminal investigation by that same federal prosecutor’s office in Manhattan in connection with his work in Ukraine.
Giuliani and Trump since last November have made false claims about the legitimacy of the election of President Joe Biden, claiming that Trump was swindled out of a victory only by widespread ballot fraud in key swing states.
Giuliani’s suspension, which was ordered a day short of his 52nd anniversary as a licensed lawyer in New York, was sought by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, which encompasses Manhattan. The suspension was granted by the Appellate Division for that same department of state Supreme Court.
The court, in its suspension order, noted that “interim suspension is a serious remedy, available only in situations where it is immediately necessary to protect the public from” an attorney’s violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
“We conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020,” the order said.
The court also said Giuliani’s “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.”
“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.”
Giuliani’s suspension is temporary, pending the outcome of a full formal disciplinary hearing.
Giuliani’s lawyers John Leventhal and Barry Kamins said in a statement, “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.”
“This is unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest,” the statement said. “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.”
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