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1,500 attorneys say Trump's lawyers are a 'disgrace' and a threat to democracy

An open letter calls for bar associations to step up and investigate the lawyers.

By Amy Lieu - December 08, 2020
Rudy Giuliani

Donald Trump’s campaign lawyers will “inevitably subvert constitutional democracy,” according to 1,500 attorneys who signed a scathing open letter calling on bar associations to condemn and investigate them for their actions defending Trump’s ill-fated attempts to overturn the Nov. 3 election.

“Bar Associations need to condemn this abuse and bar disciplinary authorities need to investigate it,” the lawyers wrote in a letter published last Thursday on the Lawyers Defending American Democracy website.

Former American Bar Association and state bar presidents, retired federal judges, state supreme court justices, and former leaders of lawyer disciplinary bodies were among the signatories.

The letter named Rudy Guiliani, Jenna Ellis, Joseph DiGenova, Victoria Toensing, and Sidney Powell, who have all repeatedly parroted Trump’s debunked election fraud claims. Powell served on Trump’s legal team until she was ousted in late November after retweeting several baseless QAnon theories.

“Behind the fog created by this waste and distraction of the country’s attention is a President’s and his lawyers’ historic abuse of the judicial process,” the letter said.

Trump’s lawyers have violated the American Bar Association’s “Model Rules of Professional Conduct that prohibits lawyers from making frivolous claims in court and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit and misrepresentation in or out of court,” an accompanying press release from the nonpartisan lawyers group stated.

The open letter follows another one from 25 former presidents and the former CEO of the D.C. Bar published on Dec. 1 in the Washington Post, which called on colleagues in the same profession to “condemn the abuse of the judicial system to subvert the democratic process” by Trump’s attorneys.

As recently as Nov. 30, Giuliani testified at a “hearing” in Arizona where he spewed countless unfounded voter fraud allegations with zero proof to back up his claims. At one point, he even admitted that he did not have any evidence, but still tried to claim that there were verifiable instances of people “stuffing the ballot box, and we will we will try to quantify those but those are harder to quantify.”

The hearing coincided with the state certifying its election for President-elect Joe Biden.

“The conduct of Mr. Giuliani and his colleagues is a disgrace,” the Lawyers Defending American Democracy letter read.

The lawyers also cited the Post letter from the former D.C. Bar presidents, adding, “It is indefensible for lawyers to falsely proclaim widespread voting fraud, submit a pattern of frivolous court claims and actively seek to undermine citizens’ faith in our election’s integrity.”

DiGenova said last Monday on the right-wing “Howie Carr Show” that Christopher Krebs, former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, should be “drawn and quartered” and “taken out at dawn and shot.”

The comments came less than two weeks after Trump fired Krebs, who had issued a joint statement shortly after the election stating that “the November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”

Two days after the Howie Carr interview, lawmakers called on the D.C. Bar to open an investigation into DiGenova.

Toensing, DiGenova’s wife, has a trail of troubling issues to her name as well. She reportedly worked with Giuliani alongside her husband to dig up dirt on Biden to support unproven claims he used his former position as vice president to benefit his son Hunter. The trio’s alleged efforts in part led the House of Representatives to impeach Trump in December last year.

Ellis, for her part, has been incessantly tweeting false claims of voter fraud without providing any evidence.

“If you’re still tweeting ‘where’s the proof?’ then you don’t understand the definition of proof or evidence,” she tweeted on Dec. 1.

On Nov. 28, in a pair of separate tweets, Ellis wrote, “Election official FRAUD must be and will be exposed in #Wisconsin! Count all LEGAL votes!” and “Pennsylvania knows now the utter corruption and fraud that occurred.” Once again, she provided no proof to back her claims.

Allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 election have been thoroughly debunked by Trump’s own allies. In early December, Attorney General William Barr announced that the Justice Department’s investigation into “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would overturn Trump’s presidential election loss.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” the attorney general told the Associated Press, refuting Trump’s barrage of baseless claims that the election was “stolen.”

Legal ethics professor Stephen Gillers, with New York University’s School of Law, said in this week’s press release that some of Trump’s lawyers appeared to be “abusing their law licenses and positions as officers of the court to aid” Trump.

“‘President’s Lawyers Trash American Democracy’ is a headline we never expected to see,” he said. “To mitigate the harm such tactics can inflict, the bar must forcefully repudiate their behavior.”

Former Illinois State Bar President Cheryl Niro, who also signed the open letter, wrote, “The facts are clear: the election was secure and the results have been consistently confirmed.”

She added, “Giuliani and certain Trump campaign lawyers have either been lying to the public or believe frivolous and unfounded claims, calling into question their fitness to practice law.”

The letter urged “all lawyers” to publicly condemn the conduct of Trumps legal team.

“Silence and inaction are not options,” it stated.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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