Lawyer who asserted Trump 'won in a landslide' on national TV censured for stolen election claims
A senior legal adviser to then-President Donald Trump has agreed to a public censure while admitting that her false claims about election fraud violated lawyer ethics rules.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s presiding disciplinary judge, Judge Bryon M. Large, imposed the public censure on lawyer Jenna Lynn Ellis in a March 8 order, according to a statement by the state supreme court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.
“The public censure in this matter reinforces that even if engaged in political speech, there is a line attorneys cannot cross, particularly when they are speaking in a representative capacity,” the statement said.
Ellis was a member of the legal team challenging now-President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, although she was not counsel of record for lawsuits challenging the results.
Ellis made 10 public misrepresentations in November 2020 and December 2020 in her capacity as counsel to Trump’s reelection campaign and as personal counsel to the former president, Large said in his opinion approving stipulated discipline.
Ellis made the misrepresentations on Twitter and through national television appearances, including on shows aired by Fox Business, MSNBC, Fox News and Newsmax.
The misrepresentations included claims that:
• “We have affidavits from witnesses, we have voter intimidation, we have the ballots that were manipulated, we have all kinds of statistics that show that this was a coordinated effort in all of these states to transfer votes either from Trump to Biden, to manipulate the ballots, to count them in secret.” The statement was made Nov. 20, 2020, on Mornings With Maria on Fox Business.
• “With all those states [Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia] combined we know that the election was stolen from President Trump, and we can prove that.” The statement was made Nov. 20, 2020, on Spicer & Co. on Newsmax.
• “President Trump is right that there was widespread fraud in this election; we have at least six states that were corrupted, if not more, through their voting systems. … We know that President Trump won in a landslide.” The statement was made Nov. 30, 2020, on Mornings With Maria on Fox Business.
• “We have over 500,000 votes [in Arizona] that were cast illegally.” The statement was made Dec. 5, 2020, on Justice With Judge Jeanine on Fox News.
Ellis did not have prior attorney discipline.
Michael Melito, a lawyer for Ellis, commented in a statement provided to CNN.
“My client remains a practicing attorney in good standing in the state of Colorado. In a very heated political climate, we have secured that correct outcome,” Melito said.
The States United Democracy Center had sought an ethics investigation of Ellis by filing a complaint with Colorado attorney regulators. The group’s senior counsel, Aaron Scherzer, commented in a statement.
“Ellis rightly admits that her actions undermined public confidence in our elections,” Scherzer said. “Her lies did lasting damage, and her name will forever be linked to this assault on our democracy.”
Besides CNN, publications covering the censure include Colorado Newsline, NBC News and Politico.
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