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Rudy Giuliani’s 5 Worst Excuses From His Attorney-Misconduct Hearing


Rudy Giuliani is widely considered one of the key figures in Donald Trump’s failed effort to overturn the 2020 presidential-election results. During the January 6 Committee hearings, multiple witnesses accused Giuliani of drunkenly urging Trump to just declare victory on Election Night and of leading a group of kooky advisers others dubbed “the crazies.” Giuliani himself testified that he called Trump’s White House attorneys a “bunch of pussies” for refusing to go along with his schemes. And who could forget the unhinged postelection press conference in which Giuliani spewed baseless allegations about a massive conspiracy directed by Joe Biden as his own hair dye tried to distance itself from him?

Despite all that, Giuliani attempted to downplay his role this week in the legal effort to block Biden’s win as he faced trial-like proceedings to determine whether he had violated the D.C. Bar Association’s rules of professional conduct. During Monday’s hearing, D.C. Bar officials argued that in 2020, Giuliani had “weaponized his law license” by filing a federal lawsuit full of baseless claims of voter fraud.

“It was particularly egregious that it occurred in this case, that a meritless complaint was filed, because it was an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the presidential election,” said D.C. disciplinary counsel Hamilton Fox.

A New York State court already suspended Giuliani’s law license for spreading lies about the 2020 election. Following testimony from Giuliani and other witnesses, which is expected to continue this week, the hearing committee will draft recommendations on whether his license should be suspended or revoked in D.C. as well. The report will go to the Bar’s full disciplinary board, then to the D.C. Court of Appeals, in a process that could take months.

During several hours of virtual testimony on Monday and Tuesday, Giuliani offered a defense that was multipronged but perhaps not that well thought out. Here are some of his arguments.

He was just asking questions.

The disciplinary hearings are focused on the court challenge Giuliani launched in Pennsylvania in November 2020, in which he suggested the court should invalidate 680,000 to 7 million votes and let the state legislature declare the winner of the presidential contest (several courts ultimately rejected this). On Monday, Giuliani pushed back on the idea that he should have had some very specific evidence of fraud before making such a bold demand.

“You don’t start a lawsuit being able to prove — I mean, you’re very lucky when you do. You don’t start a lawsuit being able to prove but being able to responsibly allege,” Giuliani said, per CNN. “I was responsibly alleging based on the things that were told to me by other people. I wasn’t proving — I had a long way to go to prove.”

November 2020 was a crazy time.

Giuliani’s attorney John Leventhal pointed out that the Pennsylvania complaint was filed at a “chaotic time” when his client was busy coordinating litigation that alleged voter fraud in multiple battleground states, according to Politico. Leventhal said Giuliani had joined the Pennsylvania litigation “at the 11th hour” and “had a reasonable basis to rely on the information he was provided” by the Trump campaign and other third parties.

He didn’t even write the Pennsylvania complaint.

Giuliani tried to distance himself from the initial complaint filed in Pennsylvania, claiming on Monday that he had contributed only one or two paragraphs. He said it was mostly penned by local attorney Ron Hicks, who withdrew from the case before it was heard by a district judge, though Giuliani was advising Hicks on what to say.

“I was giving [Hicks] language so that eventually we would have the chance to consolidate this case with other cases similar to it, so we can try to have one case to go to the Supreme Court,” Giuliani said.

Maybe he had so much evidence of voter fraud he just lost track of it.

When asked if he had turned over all the evidence that could possibly prove his postelection lawsuit wasn’t frivolous, Giuliani suggested that was impossible. Bloomberg reports:

Giuliani hedged when asked if the record in the disciplinary proceedings included all of the written evidence that supported his claims in Pennsylvania, saying his legal team had produced “all that we can put our hands on” but adding “there’s no doubt there’s more.” Fox asked where other documents would be if Giuliani didn’t have them and the law firms that Giuliani worked with in Pennsylvania hadn’t turned them over when they were subpoenaed. Giuliani suggested materials got lost as they handled multiple cases.

During the hearings, Giuliani also inadvertently underscored that his mental focus isn’t what it once was. At one point, he looked at his wrist and remarked with surprise, “You know I have two watches on?”

What if the “conspiracy theories” are true?

Giuliani still wants to believe that widespread voter fraud is the only reason Trump isn’t president right now. Per CNN:

Giuliani on Monday doubled down on various conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, including a claim that Black Lives Matter activists were bused into Philadelphia to vote illegally in the election. The claim was based on the declaration of an out-of-town hotel guest who observed a large group of people wearing Black Lives Matter gear at her Philadelphia hotel and from a statement about the supposed scheme from an unidentified Uber driver. Giuliani provided the declaration to the D.C. Bar’s disciplinary office at the start of its ethics investigation in an effort to show that the Pennsylvania lawsuit had a reasonable basis.

“Do you think that is reliable evidence of fraud in the 2020 election in Pennsylvania?” Fox asked.

“I don’t know, we would find out. We would certainly follow up on this,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani also said he believes he has been unfairly “persecuted for years” over his involvement in Trump’s attempt to steal the election, adding on Tuesday, “I am shocked and offended this is happening to me.”

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Giuliani’s 5 Worst Excuses From His D.C. Law-License Hearing