Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who further tarnished what remained of his legacy by urging pro-Trump radicals to engage in "trial by combat" prior to their storming the Capitol Building Jan. 6, is confronting something equally daunting, if less-lethal: trial by judges.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman announced Jan. 11 that he would file a formal complaint with the Appellate Division of the state court system asking it to revoke Mr. Giuliani's law license based on his bellicose rhetoric prior to the mob takeover of the halls of Congress, badly damaging and defacing the building and causing the death of a Capitol Police Officer who died of injuries suffered when a protester smashed him in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Bar Association Acts
That same day, the New York State Bar Association said it had begun an inquiry into whether Mr. Giuliani's remarks during the rally near the White House where President Trump subsequently told the crowd that "if you don't fight like hell, you're not gonna have a country anymore," warranted suspending him from its rolls, a far-less-serious punishment.
Following his call for "trial by combat"—the kind of duels that were common in the days before courts of law were established—Mr. Giuliani, who has been Mr. Trump's primary election lawyer, said that if the certification of the Electoral College results by Congress that afternoon could be delayed by the protesters, "I'm willing to stake my reputation, the President is willing to stake his reputation, that we'll find criminality there."
He continued to allege that voting machines had been manipulated to favor President-elect Joe Biden at Mr. Trump's expense, although every case he and other lawyers brought failed to include credible evidence of such fraud and had been rejected by the courts. Those legal rebukes often came from Republican judges, including at the U.S. Supreme Court, where a unanimous dismissal of the case included the three Justices appointed by Mr. Trump.
Nonetheless, Mr. Giuliani told the crowd, "This was the worst election in American history," claiming that cheating took place in "crooked American cities" in seven states. Saying that they had been deprived of a "free and fair vote," he declared, "We're gonna fight to the very end to make sure that doesn't happen."
Went Silent Since
In the wake of the violent takeover, and indications that some in the mob were intent on injuring or killing government officials including Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, there have been calls for Mr. Trump, his son Donald Jr. and Mr. Giuliani to be criminally charged with inciting to riot.
The President, after a brief apology the night after the insurrection that briefly led Twitter to lift a two-week ban it had imposed, engaged in more incendiary tweets the following day, leading to his permanent ban from posting there.
Mr. Giuliani has been uncharacteristically muted since the uprising, except to tweet "who will be silenced next" after Google announced it was removing the right-wing social-media site Parler from the Google Play store, citing a company policy that "removes egregious content like posts that incite violence."
But Senator Hoylman said in a statement that he wanted the former Mayor's law license yanked based on his "rampant and egregious violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct due to his participation in a scheme to unlawfully overturn the results of a free and fair election and his complicity in inflaming a violent coup attempt on our seat of federal government."
The Manhattan State Senator, who is running for Manhattan Borough President, cited the ex-Mayor's angry declaration, after stating that he was convinced that fraud had occurred, "If we're wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we're right, a lot of them will go to jail. Let's have trial by combat!"
Attack on Rule of Law
Accusing Mr. Giuliani of repeating "baseless claims to sow doubt about the results of the 2020 Presidential Elections," Mr. Hoylman wrote, "The profession of law is a sacred and noble one. And there can be no room in the profession for those who seek to undermine and undo the rule of law."
State Bar Association President Scott M. Karson was equally pointed in his criticism of the exhortations of a man once celebrated as a fearless Federal prosecutor. His organization's statement noted that its bylaws say that "no person who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or of any state, territory or possession thereof, or any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means, shall be a member of the Association."
The statement continued, "Mr. Giuliani's words quite clearly were intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election's outcome to take matters into their own hands. Their subsequent attack on the Capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power."
Losing his license to practice may not be the greatest of the former Mayor's legal concerns. Fifteen months ago, two of his business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman—Russian-born businessmen who had been involved with Mr. Giuliani in trying to dig up damaging information on Mr. Biden and his son Hunter from Ukrainian officials—were indicted for making illegal campaign contributions to U.S. politicians. Their subsequent decision to cooperate with Federal prosecutors sparked speculation that they might implicate him in return for leniency when they are sentenced for their crimes.
Tied to New Indictment
That speculation intensified last September when a superseding indictment added a wire-fraud conspiracy charge to the case against Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, concerning a $500,000 loan their business had received from Charles Gucciardo, a pro-Trump Republican donor.
That money was used to pay Mr. Giuliani for $500,000 of consulting work for which he had billed their firm, Fraud Guarantee. A lawyer for Mr. Gucciardo claimed that he had considered the loan an investment, explaining that the former Mayor's reputation as an expert in cybersecurity "would catapult the Company into the world of cybersecurity and investor protection."
The case against Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman was brought by prosecutors in Manhattan's Southern District of New York—the same office where as U.S. Attorney in the mid-1980s Mr. Giuliani enjoyed the successes that launched his political career.
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