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Giuliani Dissembles And Defends 2020 Plots As He Fights To Keep DC Law License

Talking Points Memo 12/5/2022 Josh Kovensky
US-POLITICS-REPUBLICAN-HEALTH-VIRUS © AFP via Getty Images US-POLITICS-REPUBLICAN-HEALTH-VIRUS

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani spent much of Monday defending his efforts to reverse the result of the 2020 election before an attorneys disciplinary committee, flailing and muttering as he attempted to elide questions about his conduct.

“I really believe I’ve been persecuted for three or four years,” Giuliani said at the hearing, which could lead to him losing his law license in the District of Columbia.

The hearing was held before a panel of the D.C. Bar Board of Professional Responsibility, and came after the office that oversees attorney ethics in the district issued two charges against Giuliani, both for conduct in Pennsylvania in 2020: one for bringing a frivolous legal proceeding, and another for “engag[ing] in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

Giuliani defended himself directly throughout the Monday hearing, during which he testified as a witness.

Both members of the hearing board and Hamilton Fox, the disciplinary counsel, repeatedly pleaded for Giuliani to stop pontificating and to only answer the questions at hand. But nevertheless, Giuliani persisted, claiming that what he did was righteous, professing ignorance of Pennsylvania election law, and accusing those present of bias.

“My role was to show how Pennsylvania involved the same set of eight or ten suspicious actions — illegal actions, whatever you want to call them, irregular actions — that could not be the product of accident,” Giuliani said. He added that he believed he had uncovered enough circumstantial evidence of fraud in Pennsylvania to suggest a “conspiracy.”

It was a tour de force performance from the former mayor, and only the first day of his testimony.

He tried to outwit the Fox, the disciplinary attorney, at various points, leading to the apparent bewilderment of those watching.

Fox, for example, asked Giuliani to confirm whether he co-authored a lawsuit in Pennsylvania that he had signed.

“Not that day,” Giuliani retorted.

After a long pause and some discussion, Fox repeated the question. Giuliani provided the same response.

“I’m asking you what time it is,” Fox said. “You’re telling me how to make a watch.”

Fox began his opening remarks by suggesting that Giuliani had “weaponiz[ed] his law license” in service of spreading claims about election fraud that he either knew were false or which he didn’t care to verify.

He added that it was part of “an attempt to undermine the constitution to which he — like all members of the District of Columbia bar — took an oath to support.”

After the proceeding ends, the attorney overseeing the process — D.C. litigator Robert Bernius — will make a recommendation to the Committee on how to proceed.

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