A New York State appellate court has suspended the law licence of Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of making “demonstrably false and misleading statements” in his quest to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat.
“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,” the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York wrote.
Mr Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, served as Mr Trump’s personal lawyer during his presidency. After the former president lost the 2020 election, Mr Giuliani launched dozens of court cases challenging the results, often while invoking debunked conspiracy theories about voter fraud and corrupt voting machines.
On Thursday, the appellate court made it clear that Mr Giuliani’s “false statements” in those cases were what got his licence suspended.
“We conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent [Mr Giuliani] 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 re-election in 2020,” the court wrote.
Under the court’s order, Mr Giuliani will not be allowed to represent clients as a lawyer as long as the suspension remains in effect. He has not been disbarred, but some believe that could come next.
“Given the First Department’s opinion, it’s hard to imagine that Rudy won’t be disbarred after a full hearing,” the lawyer and political commentator George Conway tweeted. “It’s now almost inconceivable that he will ever set foot in a courtroom again as anything other than a defendant.”
Mr Giuliani has been a lawyer since 1969. In 1983, he rose to the position of US attorney in Manhattan, where he and his team won important victories against organised crime. Those successes helped launch his political career, which saw him serve as mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001 and stand as a presidential candidate in 2008.
It was his quixotic efforts in 2020 that led to his fall from grace. The vast majority of Mr Giuliani’s election cases were dismissed or defeated, often along with some harsh words from the judges who heard them.
“This court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence,” Pennsylvania judge Matthew Brann, a Republican, wrote as he dismissed one of Mr Giuliani’s cases “with prejudice”.
The Independent has reached out to Mr Giuliani’s lawyers for comment, but has not yet heard back.