So, if you’re here at any point today or tomorrow, you are likely someone who has already heard the news of Rudy Giuliani, attorney for the former POTUS, being suspended from the practice of law in New York. A copy of the 30+ page opinion imposing an interim suspension on Mr. Giuliani is available at the link below.
I’ve previously written a bit on the topic of Rudy’s descent into madness and will not repeat all of that. I will say that many folks who do what I do are very surprised with this news – particularly because of the type of suspension. These kinds of suspensions are usually imposed against lawyers who have been convicted of a crime, stolen client funds, or abandoned their practices. That being said, and as I’ve written about in variations in the recent past, all of those things get pursued because they fall under the general category of being a threat to the public.
It is rare that I can manage a blogpost that is almost exclusively a quote from a court opinion, but the opinion itself makes the case about as well as anyone could why this suspension is justified on the grounds that this lawyer is a public threat:
The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated. This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden.13 The hallmark of our democracy is predicated on free and fair elections. False statements intended to foment
a loss of confidence in our elections and resulting loss of confidence in government generally damage the proper functioning of a free society. When those false statements are made by an attorney, it also erodes the public’s confidence in the integrity of attorneys admitted to our bar and damages the profession’s role as a crucial source of
reliable information (Matter of Nearing, 16 AD2d at 516). It tarnishes the reputation of the entire legal profession and its mandate to act as a trusted and essential part of the machinery of justice (Ohralik v Ohio State Bar Assn, 436 US at 447). Where, as here, the false statements are being made by respondent, acting with the authority of being an attorney, and using his large megaphone, the harm is magnified. One only has to look at the ongoing present public discord over the 2020 election, which erupted into violence, insurrection and death on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol, to understand the extent of the damage that can be done when the public is misled by false information about the elections. The AGC contends that respondent’s misconduct directly inflamed tensions
that bubbled over into the events of January 6, 2021 in this nation’s Capitol. Respondent’s response is that no causal nexus can be shown between his conduct and those events. We need not decide any issue of “causal nexus” to understand that the falsehoods themselves cause harm.14 This event only emphasizes the larger point that
the broad dissemination of false statements, casting doubt on the legitimacy of thousands of validly cast votes, is corrosive to the public’s trust in our most important democratic institutions.
Before Judge Brann in the Boockvar case, respondent himself stated: “I don’t know what’s more serious than being denied your right to vote in a democracy.” We agree. It is the very reason why espousing false factual information to large segments of the public as a means of discrediting the rights of legitimate voters is so immediately
harmful to it and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.
The two footnotes cited within that portion of the Court’s opinion involve reference to (1) a May national poll reflecting that 53% of Republicans in the United States believe that Trump won the election and should still rightly be POTUS; and (2) the fact that Mr. Giuliani is also a defendant in litigation seeking to hold him responsible for the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.