Rudy Giuliani defends election suit, claims persecution in ethics hearing that became 'a tad argumentative'
Lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference in June in New York. Photo by Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press.
Lawyer Rudy Giuliani clashed with a lead ethics prosecutor in a hearing Monday to determine whether he should be sanctioned for unsupported claims in a Pennsylvania lawsuit claiming widespread fraud during the 2020 presidential election.
According to coverage by Politico, the ethics hearing in Washington, D.C., “grew increasingly antagonistic as the day wore on.”
Hamilton “Phil” Fox III, the lead prosecuting attorney for the D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel, complained that Giuliani was avoiding his questions with long-winded answers.
“I’m asking you what time it is, and you’re telling me how to make a watch,” Fox said.
Robert C. Bernius, chairman of the committee hearing the arguments and a senior counsel at Nixon Peabody, scolded Giuliani and Fox.
“I would be eternally grateful if Mr. Fox would ask questions, and Mr.Giuliani would answer questions,” Bernius said. “It’s getting a tad argumentative on both sides.”
Giuliani said during questioning he was being “persecuted” and said Fox’s questions were “part of what created this injustice,” according to Law.com.
The Washington, D.C., ethics complaint alleged that Giuliani made “conclusory accusations” about widespread voter fraud and promised 300 “affidavits, declarations or our own statements that we’ve written down” to support it. But those documents were unsupported, unrelated to voters of former President Donald Trump, involved conduct outside the counties sued and were “isolated incidents,” bar regulators said.
Fox said in opening statements Giuliani had “weaponized” his law license in a bid to invalidate up to 1.5 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.
Giuliani’s lawyer, John Leventhal, countered that Giuliani reasonably relied on information provided by others during a chaotic time. Leventhal also argued that Giuliani shouldn’t be sanctioned for a second amended complaint that he drafted that was never accepted by the court.
At one point, Giuliani said he remembers seeing a report about roughly 17,000 Pittsburgh voters who were turned away from the polls after being told that they had already voted. But Giuliani said he doesn’t know where that report is now.
Giuliani also said he “personally witnessed a lot of the fraud myself” because he traveled to Pennsylvania and “saw many of the things that I alleged in the complaint,” according to Law.com.
Giuliani has been on inactive, nonpracticing status in Washington, D.C., since 2002. He was suspended there on an interim basis in July 2021 as a result of his interim suspension the prior month in New York for “demonstrably false and misleading statements” claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
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