A group called Lawyers Defending American Democracy is pushing for the potential disbarment of Stefan Passantino, who was once a lawyer in the Trump White House and then represented well-known witness Cassidy Hutchinson in some of her dealings with the House committee that investigated the Capitol riot.
Hutchinson, who later had different legal representation, has alleged that Passantino encouraged her to withhold information from investigators. If directly asked whether she had such details before falsely answering “no” at Passantino’s urging, that could’ve constituted prosecutable perjury. You can’t just lie to Congress or other potential investigators in the federal government. Passantino allegedly pushed Hutchinson to abide by his idea for the contours of her engagement with the committee in exchange for what at least could have been a high-quality position in Trump’s circles, leading to an accusation of potential bribery included in the legal group’s complaint filed with the D.C. Bar.
Passantino’s actions could easily be construed as meant to protect the interests of a third party — meaning Trump — who wasn’t his client, directly contradicting further standards for conduct in the legal profession. The legal group specifically accused Passantino of possibly committing documentable subornation of perjury, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and bribery, as noted in a report from The New York Times. Adding to the situation, payment for legal work that Passantino did ostensibly for Hutchinson was handled by a Trump fundraising and political organization.
The D.C. Bar is also where Rudy Giuliani, the longtime Trump lawyer, has been facing disciplinary proceedings over his part in helping spread the lies of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, so there is a precedent for this specific authority taking punitive action against someone close to Trump. Elsewhere, John Eastman — another lawyer aligned with Trump, who helped with prepping ideas for January 6 — is facing a disciplinary case from authorities for lawyers in California that could leave him disbarred. And outside of the ex-president’s most immediate circles, even Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton faced a case from his state’s bar authorities after he took part in spreading 2020 lies. On top of all this, there has also been talk of trying to block Trump from the ballot in 2024 because of the Constitutional provisions restricting individuals involved in an insurrection from holding offices in government.