Rudy Giuliani Rebuked In Court Amid D.C. Ethics Charges

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Rudy Giuliani, who is facing a challenge from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel at the D.C. Bar over his involvement in litigation after the 2020 election challenging its outcome, is apparently hoping to rely at an upcoming hearing in the case on long discredited claims about that election.

Accepting the claims would suggest he was actually behaving normally. Giuliani was specifically involved with the legal team for a Pennsylvania case challenging mail-in ballots, although he also conducted a significant amount of what could be termed PR work around the country for the “big lie.” Pennsylvania used no-excuse mail-in voting — in which any otherwise eligible voter can cast a mail-in vote — for the first time that year, and the program, which was initially supported even by state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), has since attracted steep GOP opposition. During arguments in court in the mail-in ballot case, Rudy pushed conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election rather than even sticking only to procedural arguments, such as those involving the access of Republican election observers. In D.C., where — like New York — Giuliani’s ability to practice law is suspended, he is facing allegations of violating the rules to which lawyers must adhere.

There is a hearing in the ethics challenge from the disciplinary counsel scheduled for early December, and Giuliani’s team has presented a list of 16 potential witnesses, including Rudy himself. The disciplinary counsel’s team has raised at least tentative objections to five of them, expressing concerns about how effectively Giuliani’s team has established these witnesses’s statuses as experts. For Peter Navarro and John Droz Jr., the D.C. team questioned the absence of relevant details about the pair’s qualifications, indicating they would accept the witnesses if missing info was produced. As for three others, the disciplinary counsel’s team suggested Rudy intended to call them as experts, even though they didn’t list them as such. The requisite info accompanying summoning an ostensible expert witness wasn’t provided for any of them, including Phil Waldron, Shiva Ayyadurai, and Russell Ramsland, who have been involved in pushing false claims tied to the 2020 election.

Although Rudy is not facing an ordinary court proceeding alleging either criminal or civil violations, expert testimony generally must meet certain requirements, and opposing sides have the chance to challenge experts’ qualifications. He could face further consequences, like disbarment. Other Trump-aligned lawyers, like Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton, have also faced challenges to their professional standing because of participating in ultimately baseless court challenges to the outcome of the last election. Paxton could also face disbarment, although other consequences are possible.

Meanwhile, Giuliani also continues facing defamation litigation from Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology company that for some reason became a central player in pro-Trump conspiracy theories about the election. Rudy claimed on Fox at one point after the election Dominion was owned by Smartmatic, another election tech company that was barely used in the U.S. during the 2020 elections — and which had no business relationship along those lines with Dominion. The falsity of those claims is especially relevant since pro-Trump advocates have talked up ostensible ties between Smartmatic and the Venezuelan government. A Venezuelan businessman named by Sidney Powell in lies about what happened during the election also brought defamation litigation against defendants including Fox. Majed Khalil, the businessman, said in his lawsuit he was actually unaffiliated, business-wise, with Smartmatic.

“You say these four individuals led the effort to rig this election. How did they do it?” Lou Dobbs asked Powell on Fox, referring to a group including Khalil. Their supposed work included having “designed and developed the Smartmatic and Dominion programs and machines that include a controller module that allows people to log in and manipulate the vote even as it’s happening,” she said. None of that actually happened.