What to Know
- A New York court suspended Rudy Giuliani from the practice of law, saying his behavior "immediately threatens the public interest"
- The ruling is not a disbarment, but means Giuliani can not work as a lawyer in any capacity in the state
- Judges cited the Trump lawyer's "demonstrably false and misleading statements" in justifying his suspension
Former New York City mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has been suspended from practicing law in New York state, after an appellate court said his behavior "immediately threatens the public interest."
The ruling prevents Giuliani, the former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, from practicing law in the state but does not strip him of his law license. The case was brought by the Attorney Grievance Committee of the state's First Judicial Department, which has jurisdiction over attorneys in Manhattan.
"We conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020," a New York state appellate court ruled.
"These false statements were made to improperly bolster respondent’s narrative that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from his client. We conclude that respondent’s conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law, pending further proceedings before the Attorney Grievance Committee."
Earlier this year, the state bar association said it was looking at removing Giuliani as a member over his election-related conduct, and on Thursday, following the court's suspension, they confirmed that they would in fact remove him as member.
Defiant as ever, Giuliani spoke out about the court's ruling outside his NYC apartment, saying "these judges take action without giving me a hearing ... If you want to say I said something irresponsible, you've got to give me a chance to defend myself. I can more than defend myself."
Giuliani went on to double down on claims of voter fraud, saying if the New York court would have allowed him to introduce evidence and witnesses, many of his claims of voter fraud would stand.
"I could call 100 witnesses to support what I'm saying, and I'm ready to do it," he said.
The judges wrote that Giuliani had the opportunity, but never provided names of witnesses, experts or investigative reports. Giuliani's attorneys - both retired judges themselves - said they expected a full hearing to lead to their client's reinstatement.
"We are disappointed with the Appellate Division, First Department’s decision suspending Mayor Giuliani prior to being afforded a hearing on the issues that are alleged. This is unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest," John Leventhal and Barry Kamins said in a statement.
Giuliani's son Andrew, a former Trump aide himself and current Republican candidate for governor of New York, also tweeted a statement and video decrying the "5 Leftist judges" who suspended his father's license.
"All five of them were Democrats. Three of them appointed by Governor Cuomo. Five to nothing," he later told reporters.
Yet the court was unsparing in its assessment of the former mayor’s conduct, saying in essence that it could not trust Giuliani to not lie.
"The risk that respondent will continue to engage in future misconduct while this disciplinary proceeding is pending is further borne out by his past, persistent and pervasive dissemination of these false statements in the media. This is not a situation where the uncontroverted misconduct consisted of only a few isolated incidents. Rather, each of the false statements identified and analyzed herein were made multiple times on multiple platforms, reaching countless members of the public. They continued after this motion was brought, and despite respondent facing imminent suspension from the practice of law," the court said.
The ruling comes about two months after federal agents served search warrants at Giuliani's home and office, part of their ongoing probe into his conduct related to relations with Ukraine. That raid and the suspension were just two more blows to a man who was once one of the most powerful federal prosecutors in the country, and was a favorite to be elected president.
"It's only Trump lawyers who get raided. It's only Trump lawyers who get penalized without anybody hearing their side of the case," Giuliani said.