New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) has launched an inquiry into removing Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani from its ranks.
The move comes after Mr Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, called for “trial by combat” at a rally for the President, who was repeating false claims the November 2020 election was “stolen” from him.
NYSBA said in a statement on Monday while they believe the violent uprising was the fault of Mr Trump, the President “did not act alone” and was aided by Mr Giuliani. The legal association said it’s received “hundreds” of complaints about Mr Giuliani and his attempts to overturn the election in recent months.
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Democrats Ted Lieu and Mondaire Jones, both attorneys and Members of the US Congress, contacted the Association on Friday.
They said it was “inconceivable to us that Mr Giuliani remains in good standing with the New York State Bar Association” and alleged he’d engaged in “activities that would see any other ordinary lawyer summarily thrown out of the profession”.
The Congressman urged the NYSBA to open an “immediate investigation” into Mr Giuliani’s comments urging the mob to engage in “trial by combat” which preceded a “violent insurrection at the Capitol in which five people died, including a US Capitol Police Officer and Members of Congress and the Vice President were credibly threatened with violence”.
Appearing at Mr Trump’s “Stop The Steal” rally Mr Giuliani repeated wide-ranging, false and unsubstantiated claims that the election had been rigged. Mr Giuliani asked the crowd, “who hides evidence?” appearing to imply his team needed more time to put together its legal case.
“Over the next ten days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent,” Mr Giuliani told the President’s supporters.
“If we’re wrong we will be made fools of, but if we’re right a lot of them will go to jail. Let’s have trial by combat.”
NYSBA said in a statement it “strongly condemned the violent uprising that occurred at the US Capitol” last Wednesday, adding it was “orchestrated by individuals bent on subverting the will of the voters by disrupting the certification of the 2020 presidential election results”.
It laid the blame “first and foremost” with Mr Trump, but said he “did not act alone”.
“Hours before the angry mob stormed the Capitol walls, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, addressed a crowd of thousands at the White House, reiterating baseless claims of widespread election fraud in the presidential election and the Georgia US Senate runoffs.
“NYSBA has received hundreds of complaints in recent months about Mr Giuliani and his baseless efforts on behalf of President Trump to cast doubt on the veracity of the 2020 presidential election and, after the votes were cast, to overturn its legitimate results.”
Those efforts, they said, included court actions in multiple states “without any evidentiary basis whatsoever”, which “were appropriately dismissed by the courts in which they were brought”.
NYSBA President Scott M. Karson launched an inquiry to determine whether Mr Giuliani can be expelled from the association’s membership, as per the group’s bylaws.
The NYSBA has bylaws which state that “no person who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or of any state, territory or possession thereof, or of any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means, shall be a member of the Association.”
The statement goes on to call what happened at the Capitol “nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power”.