Joker: Foolish Rudy Giuliani, Trump Co-Conspirator #1: “If we’re wrong we will be made fools of”

whoever is the cause of someone becoming powerful is ruined

       – Machiavelli, The Prince

“It’s a rare individual in public office who does not eventually become personally corrupt.”

– Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani to insurrectionists at U.S. Capitol:

“Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. 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”. 

newsweek.com, Jan. 9, 2021

“That’s the thing with so much of the Trump world election plotting. It was, on many levels so bungled and silly, and yet, it did real damage and maybe even almost worked. These darkly comedic moments expose the foolishness of the people who sought to overthrow our democracy, but at the same time, they also serve to show the fragility of the system the plotters tried to end.”

– Hunter Walker & Josh Kovensky

The Truth:

. . . . and Consequences (all predicted within days of Giuliani’s Jan. 6 call to combat):

  • Giuliani’s statement calling for a “trial by combat” to resolve fraud disputes was particularly egregious and could make him especially vulnerable to charges, said ex-dean of the George Washington University School of Law, Frederick Lawrence, author of “Punishing Hate”usatoday.com, Jan. 7, 2021
  • New York Bar Association: “Urges to Disqualify Giuliani Over ‘Trial by Combat’ Speech Before D.C. Riot”. newsweek.com, Jan. 9, 2021
  • Dominion Voting Systems sues Giuliani for $1.3 billion over false election claims made at legislative hearings, on Twitter, on his podcast and in the conservative news media.  He spun a fictitious narrative of a plot by one of the biggest voting machine manufacturers in the country to flip votes to President Biden). nytimes.com, Jan. 25, 2021
  • His legacy? “. . . very much debatable as of 2010 or 2015. As of 2020, forever tarnished by Trump and Trumpism, it’s sad and bleak, covered in a damned spot that will not come out”. nydailynews.com, Nov. 19, 2020
  • And local prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are actively researching whether they can apply “false statement” charges against Rudy Giuliani and other members of Donald Trump’s team for their mendacity-packed attempts to meddle with the state’s 2020 election results, according to a person familiar with the matter. Titus T. Nichols, a former violent crimes prosecutor in Augusta, said that hitting Trump’s conspiracy theory-spewing team in Georgia with false statements charges is right in line with the spirit of the law. Nichols said Giuliani will be held to a higher standard because he’s a lawyer—albeit one whose professional status is under threat, given that New York is now considering disbarring the man who was once Manhattan’s U.S. Attorney. thedailybeast.com, Mar. 24, 2021
  • The January 6th Report: No surprises here – Giuliani clearly in cross hairs of seditious conspiracy charges
  • DC Bar Panel recommends Guiliani’s disbarment because he “seriously undermined the administration of justice” by bringing a suit “seeking to change the result of the 2020 presidential election when he had no factual basis, and consequently no legitimate legal grounds, to do so.”
  • Since the [Trump] indictment [#2] became public, Trump loyalists have insisted that the Department of Justice is attacking Trump’s First Amendment rights to free speech. Indeed, if Giuliani’s unhinged appearance on Newsmax last night is any indication, it appears that has been their strategy all along. Aside from the obvious limit that the First Amendment does not cover criminal behavior, the grand jury sidestepped this issue by acknowledging that Trump had a right to lie about his election loss. It indicted him for unlawfully trying to obstruct an official proceeding and to disenfranchise voters. Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson, August 3, 2023
  • Research note: “Examining false beliefs about voter fraud in the wake of the 2020 Presidential Election, https://misinforeview.hks.harvard.edu, Jan. 11, 2021

 

Recall, once more, that phone call on January 2, 2021 . . .

 

On January 2, 2021, Trump held a one-hour phone call with Raffensperger.

Trump was joined by chief of staff Mark Meadows, trade adviser Peter Navarro, Justice Department official John Lott, law professor John C. Eastman, and attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Cleta Mitchell, Alex Kaufman, and Kurt Hilbert. [Boldface added]

The infamous call that Trump placed to Raffensperger was in part focused on having Raffensperger re-certify the result. Instead of the Biden electors, Raffensperger would re-certify the Trump electors, sending them to Congress on Jan. 6.

“Under the law you’re not allowed to give faulty election results, OK? You’re not allowed to do that. And that’s what you done,” Trump told Raffensperger on the infamous Jan. 2 phone call. “This is a faulty election result. And honestly, this should go very fast. You should meet tomorrow because you have a big election coming up and because of what you’ve done to the president.”

 

Billionaire Leon Cooperman, who backed Giuliani’s 2008 White House bid, says he won’t help with legal fees – and he’s not alone

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/sep/01/rudy-giuliani-donor-trump-legal-fees

“I wouldn’t give him a nickel,” the investor Leon Cooperman told CNBC. “I’m very negative on Donald Trump. It’s an American tragedy. [Rudy] was ‘America’s mayor’. He did a great job. And like everybody else who gets involved with Trump, it turns to shit.”

Brian France, a former Nascar chief executive, was slightly more conciliatory. But he told the same outlet his wallet was staying shut: “I was a major supporter of Rudy in 2008 and at other times.”

“I’m not sure what happen[ed] but I miss the old Rudy. I’m wishing him well.”

Donald Trump happened to Rudy.

Giuliani, now 79, was once a crusading US attorney who became New York mayor in 1993 and led the city on 9/11 and after. Capitalising on the resultant “America’s mayor” tag, he ran for the Republican nomination to succeed President George W Bush. Briefly leading the polls, he raised $60m but flamed out when the race got serious.

When Giuliani struggled with drink and depression, his former wife has said, Trump gave him shelter. When Trump himself entered presidential politics, in 2016, Giuliani became a vociferous surrogate. When Trump entered the White House, Giuliani failed to be named secretary of state but did become the president’s aide and attorney.

In that capacity his actions fueled Trump’s first impeachment, over attempts to find dirt on opponents in Ukraine, and he helped drive the hapless attempt to overturn Trump’s defeat by Joe Biden in 2020, which has spawned numerous criminal charges.

Of 91 criminal counts faced by Trump, 17 are related to election subversion. Four were brought by the justice department special counsel Jack Smith. Thirteen were brought by Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton county, Georgia.

Giuliani also faces 13 counts in Georgia, under racketeering and conspiracy statutes. Like Trump he denies wrongdoing. Also like Trump, he faces other challenges too.

Smartmatic, a voting machines company, made Giuliani a target of a $2.7bn defamation suit. This week, Giuliani was ruled liable for defamation against two Georgia elections workers. A former personal assistant, Noelle Dunphy, sued for $10m, alleging sexual assault and harassment. Giuliani has also been investigated by legal authorities.

A lawyer for the former mayor has said in court he is struggling to meet his expenses. On the Upper East Side in New York, his luxury apartment is up for sale.

CNBC found other former supporters to say they would not help Giuliani now. A personal assistant to Ken Langone said the co-founder of Home Depot did not plan to donate to Giuliani’s legal defense fund. A “Wall Street veteran” said he did not want to be named because “he didn’t want to be bothered by Trump or Giuliani”.

Attempting to stave off attempts to take away his freedom, Giuliani is due on 7 September to host a fundraiser at Trump’s Bedminster club in New Jersey. The Republican frontrunner is due to appear, but he is widely reported to have resisted pleas for significant monetary assistance.

CNBC also quoted two anonymous New York Republican operatives. One said: “Rudy should have a statue built in his honor for saving the city. But instead he is a clown figure amongst the donor class and needs to run begging for money to pay for a legal defense in which he tried to overturn an election.”

The ruling means that a defamation case against Rudolph W. Giuliani, stemming from his role in seeking to overturn the 2020 election, can proceed to a trial where damages will be considered.

Alan Feuer and 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/30/us/politics/giuliani-defamation-georgia

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Rudolph W. Giuliani was liable for defaming two Georgia election workers by repeatedly declaring that they had mishandled ballots while counting votes in Atlanta during the 2020 election.

The ruling by the judge, Beryl A. Howell in Federal District Court in Washington, means that the defamation case against Mr. Giuliani, a central figure in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to remain in power after his election loss, can proceed to trial on the narrow question of how much, if any, damages he will have to pay the plaintiffs in the case.

Judge Howell’s decision came a little more than a month after Mr. Giuliani conceded in two stipulations in the case that he had made false statements when he accused the election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, of manipulating ballots while working at the State Farm Arena for the Fulton County Board of Elections.

Mr. Trump invoked Ms. Freeman’s name 18 times during a phone call with Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, on Jan. 2, 2021. In the call, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Raffensperger to help him “find” 11,800 votes — enough to swing the results in Georgia from the winner, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

 

Trump attorneys guided false electors in Georgia, GOP chair says

In Tuesday’s filing, Shafer underscored that the strategy was driven almost entirely by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.  The false electors were later used by Trump allies to attempt to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021 and derail the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Shafer is among the 18 defendants indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, alongside Trump as part of a conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.

 

Donald Trump and His Allies in Georgia

As Trump and his 18 co-defendants surrendered to Fulton County authorities, they were processed like anyone else

By Kyler Alvord and Virginia Chamlee

https://people.com/donald-trump-18-allies-mugshots-georgia-election-interference-case-7644240

[Excerpt:]

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who served on Donald Trump’s legal team, was a prominent figure in the alleged plot to thwart Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. Giuliani now faces 13 felony counts in the Georgia probe — the same as the former president himself — though his bond was set lower than Trump’s at $150,000. He was booked at the county jail on Aug. 23, and his mug shot was released shortly after.

Giuliani is charged with violating the Georgia RICO Act, three counts of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, three counts of false statements and writings, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, and conspiracy to commit filing false documents.

 

Trump infighting risks rise as allies face legal bills, cash crunch

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/trump-infighting-risks-rise-as-allies-face-legal-bills-cash-crunch/

The multiplying charges brought against allies of former President Trump and their mounting legal fees are creating consternation in Trump world — while presenting a real risk to the former president.

Trump has burned through millions of dollars in donor money to pay for legal fees as he defends himself against charges in New York City, Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

But the former president, who has built a reputation for stiffing workers, has shown no interest in providing financial aid to former aides charged over their efforts to keep him in power. 

Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has listed his Manhattan apartment for sale, and several Trump allies have launched crowdfunding campaigns to pay for their defenses.

Some of those who face charges in Georgia have been released on bond agreements totaling as much as $100,000. 

The growing bills have already prompted complaints that Trump isn’t footing the bill.

“I was reliably informed Trump isn’t funding any of us who are indicted,” onetime Trump attorney Jenna Ellis wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Would this change if he becomes the nominee? Why then, not now? I totally agree this has become a bigger principle than just one man. So why isn’t MAGA, Inc. funding everyone’s defense?”

As Trump’s aid to allies trickles, some warn failing to take on their legal bills could come back to haunt him if associates seek to cooperate with prosecutors. 

“He has no legal obligation to pay anybody’s fees. Moral? Perhaps,” said Tim Parlatore, who represented Trump in the Mar-a-Lago case and has represented Bernard Kerik, a Giuliani associate, in dealing with the federal and Georgia cases related to Jan. 6.

“But it’s a good idea because here’s what DOJ does. DOJ obviously they have, I hesitate to say the word limitless resources, but pretty close. And one of their standard tactics is to bleed the defendant and witnesses dry,” he added. “And once they can bleed you dry to where all of your life savings have been sucked up by somebody like me … then you’re far more pliable and willing to plead guilty to just about anything to stop the bleeding.”

In other cases, Trump has provided attorneys or covered bills for those swept up in the investigations, including in the Mar-a-Lago probe where special counsel Jack Smith’s team spoke with numerous employees who work at the property.

That now includes covering the legal bills of Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, who are accused of helping Trump obstruct justice by moving boxes of classified documents and later conspiring to delete security camera footage from the property.

The superseding indictment noted a discussion around making sure “Carlos is good” and that Trump promised to get him an attorney.

But the mounting Jan. 6-related cases are being handled differently as defendants are added to the list.

A MAGA Inc. official declined to respond to Ellis’s suggestion that the super PAC fund her legal costs, noting the organization has not done so for any other individuals.

Save America, a committee Trump launched after the 2020 election that fundraised off claims of the election being stolen, was the primary committee that helped pay down the former president’s legal bills, according to campaign finance reports. 

Ellis, attorney John Eastman and former Justice Department official Jeff Clark have launched crowdfunding pages where they are collecting donations for what is described as their respective legal defense funds. All three pages frame the beneficiaries as victims of politically motivated attacks.

All three were charged in Georgia, and Eastman and Clark are believed to be among the six unindicted co-conspirators described in the federal case against Trump in Washington for his efforts to subvert the 2020 election.

“Donald’s an idiot,” Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen told CNN. “Let me just be very clear: When it comes to paying money, he is truly an idiot. He has not learned yet that … three people you don’t want to throw under the bus like that: your lawyer, your doctor and your mechanic. Because one way or the other, you’re going to go down the hill, and there’ll be no brakes.”

He mused that Giuliani could present the biggest risk for Trump. Although he’s facing charges in Georgia, he has yet to be indicted in the federal Jan. 6 case, despite being listed as a co-conspirator.

“Allegedly, from Rudy’s own mouth, he claims that he has smoking gun information about Donald,” Cohen said, adding later, “He’s going to need to speak, and he’s going to need to speak before everybody else does.”

Giuliani is facing some of the steepest debts as his cases pile up.

Beyond the two criminal cases tied to Jan. 6, he’s also facing three defamation suits related to comments he made while seeking to help Trump unwind the 2020 results — two from voting equipment companies and another from a mother-daughter duo serving as election workers in Georgia. He’s also facing disbarment proceedings in New York and Washington, matters in which he also has secured attorneys. 

In recent proceedings in the cases, Guiliani’s attorneys have noted his inability to pay for bills, as well as the apparent cutting off of assistance from Trump’s PAC after it initially provided him with $400,000 this year to help cover the cost of preserving his records as evidence in court cases.

“These are a lot of bills that he’s not paying,” Giuliani’s attorney Adam Katz told a New York state court earlier this month in a defamation suit brought by voting equipment company Smartmatic. “I think this is very humbling for Mr. Giuliani.”

CNN reported last week that Giuliani and his attorney traveled to Florida in April to appeal to Trump to help cover some of Giuliani’s legal fees. Trump reportedly did not seem especially interested, though he verbally agreed to help with some of Giuliani’s legal bills without committing to a specific amount or time frame.

A spokesman for Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.

The former mayor is far from the only Trump associate with ongoing legal battles.

Sidney Powell, who aided with Trump’s post-election cases, is also facing a defamation suit from Dominion. And Eastman and Clark have hired attorneys to represent them in proceedings to strip their law license.

One source dismissed the suggestion that Trump should be covering the legal bills of co-defendants in Georgia, calling it “inane.”

Trump has complained on social media that his mounting legal cases were forcing his campaign “to spend vast amounts of money on legal fees, thereby having less to spend” on political ads.

A source familiar with Trump’s PAC spending said the Trump team spent too much money upfront, acquiring high legal bills from attorneys well in advance of the trials now facing them.

“What you’ve got here is you have a lot of lawyers that I think are being very abusive in their billing practices. And they basically see this as a piggy bank that they can raid to run up the bill without actually providing value commensurate with the amount of money they’re getting paid,” the source said.

“And it then causes the problem that you have here where, oh my god, people are spending like drunken sailors. And all these millions and millions of dollars got spent. And now when Rudy actually has to stay out of jail, there’s nothing left to help Rudy stay out of jail. And they’re starting to get real tight with things because now they’re looking at four trials coming up.”

[Boldface added]

 

As Rudolph Giuliani has neared a financial breaking point with a pile of legal bills, the former president has largely demurred, despite making a vague promise to pay up.

Maggie Haberman and 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/19/us/politics/giuliani-trump-legal-finances

Rudolph W. Giuliani is running out of money and looking to collect from a longtime client who has yet to pay: former President Donald J. Trump.

To recover the millions of dollars he believes he is owed for his efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power, Mr. Giuliani first deferred to his lawyer, who pressed anyone in Mr. Trump’s circle who would listen.

When that fizzled out, Mr. Giuliani and his lawyer made personal appeals to the former president over a two-hour dinner in April at his Mar-a-Lago estate and in a private meeting at his golf club in West Palm Beach.

When those entreaties largely failed as well, Mr. Giuliani’s son, Andrew, who has an independent relationship with the former president, visited Mr. Trump at his club in New Jersey this month, with what people briefed on the meeting said was the hope of getting his father’s huge legal bills covered.

That appeared to help. Mr. Giuliani’s son asked that Mr. Trump attend two fund-raisers for the legal bills, and the former president agreed to do so, the people said.

Still, for the better part of a year, as Mr. Giuliani has racked up the bills battling an array of criminal investigations, private lawsuits and legal disciplinary proceedings stemming from his bid to keep Mr. Trump in office after the 2020 election, his team has repeatedly sought a lifeline from the former president, according to several people close to him. And even as the bills have pushed Mr. Giuliani close to a financial breaking point, the former president has largely demurred, the people said, despite making a vague promise during their dinner at Mar-a-Lago to pay up.

Mr. Giuliani, 79, who was criminally charged alongside Mr. Trump this week in the election conspiracy case in Georgia, is currently sitting on what one person familiar with his financial situation says is nearly $3 million in legal expenses. And that is before accounting for any money that Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, might be owed for his work conducted after Election Day on Mr. Trump’s behalf.

Mr. Trump’s political action committee, which has doled out roughly $21 million on legal fees primarily for Mr. Trump but also for a number of people connected to investigations into him, has so far covered only $340,000 for Mr. Giuliani, a payment made in late May.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump did not respond to a request for comment, nor did a spokesman for Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Giuliani, whose law license has been suspended because of his work to overturn the election, has few sources of income left, according to people close to him.

He earns roughly $400,000 a year from his WABC radio show, according to a person familiar with the matter. He also gets some income from a podcast he hosts, and, according to another person familiar, a livestream broadcast. The three cash streams are nowhere near enough to cover his debts, people close to him say. A legal-defense fund set up by friends to raise $5 million for him in 2021 took down its website after raising less than $10,000.

In the past, Mr. Trump has entered dangerous territory by not paying an associate’s legal bills when the case is connected to him, most notably with his former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, who has become a chief antagonist and star witness against him. But people close to both Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani take it as an article of faith that the former mayor would never cooperate with investigators in any meaningful way against the former president. (Mr. Giuliani has said both he and his former client did nothing wrong.)

Among those who remain close to Mr. Giuliani, there is bafflement, concern and frustration that the former mayor, who encouraged Mr. Trump to declare victory on election night before all the votes were counted, has received little financial help.

Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner under Mr. Giuliani, who worked with the former mayor trying to identify evidence of fraud and who remains a supporter of Mr. Trump, puts the fault on people around the former president. Mr. Kerik was pardoned by Mr. Trump after pleading guilty to tax fraud and having lied to White House officials when President George W. Bush nominated him to be secretary of the Homeland Security Department.

“I know the president is surrounded by a number of people that despised Giuliani even before the election, more so after the election, for his loyalty to the president and for their relationship,” Mr. Kerik said. “It’s always been a point of contention for a number of people who I personally think didn’t serve the president well in the first place.”

Mr. Kerik added, “Where is everybody? Where’s the campaign?”

But, even as Mr. Kerik and others have blamed Mr. Trump’s inner circle for the lack of payments, the decision, as several people familiar with the matter noted, was always the former president’s.

Mr. Trump has never explicitly told Mr. Giuliani why he is effectively stiffing him, but the former president has pointed out that he lost the cases related to the election. That has been consistent with what Mr. Trump told aides shortly after Election Day, when an associate of Mr. Giuliani’s, Maria Ryan, asked the campaign in an email for $20,000 a day to pay for the former mayor’s work.

People close to the former mayor argue he was not working strictly on lawsuits, but also on research and efforts to keep state legislatures from certifying results Mr. Giuliani insisted were false. But Mr. Trump told aides he didn’t want Mr. Giuliani to receive “a dime” unless he succeeded. Some of Mr. Giuliani’s expenses were eventually paid, but only after Mr. Trump personally approved the money.

The effort to collect legal fees from Mr. Trump began in earnest more than two years ago. Mr. Giuliani’s main lawyer, Robert J. Costello, started calling people in Mr. Trump’s orbit, making the case that the former president was on the hook for legal fees Mr. Giuliani incurred because of his work for Mr. Trump. Mr. Costello has contacted at least six lawyers close to Mr. Trump, according to people with knowledge of the discussions, and most appeared sympathetic to Mr. Giuliani’s situation.

This spring, Mr. Giuliani reached out to Mr. Trump directly and asked to meet, the people said. Mr. Trump agreed, and in late April, they met at Mr. Trump’s golf club in West Palm Beach.

The meeting was pleasant, and lasted more than an hour, a person familiar with the meeting said. But Mr. Trump, who was accompanied by one of his Florida attorneys, was noncommittal.

Yet he agreed to meet them again, two days later, at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, a meeting previously reported by CNN. Over a nearly two-hour dinner, Mr. Costello pressed Mr. Trump to cover not only Mr. Giuliani’s legal bills, but also to pay him for the work Mr. Giuliani provided Mr. Trump in the wake of the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump resisted, noting that Mr. Giuliani did not win any of those cases. Mr. Costello, who did most of the talking for Mr. Giuliani, said that the money was not coming out of Mr. Trump’s own pocket, but rather the coffers of his PAC. By the end of the dinner, Mr. Trump agreed that Mr. Giuliani would be paid, one person said. But in the weeks that followed, neither he nor the PAC delivered. And Mr. Giuliani was growing more and more desperate.

A federal judge was exasperated with Mr. Giuliani for failing to search for records as part of a defamation lawsuit that two Georgia election workers filed against him because he falsely accused them of stealing ballots. Mr. Giuliani said that he could not afford to pay for a vendor to do so.

Mr. Costello pleaded with Mr. Trump’s aides to pay off Mr. Giuliani’s balance with the vendor, and the PAC made a $340,000 payment to that firm.

Since then, however, the PAC has not covered any other bills for Mr. Giuliani.

It has been a remarkable reversal of fortune for Mr. Giuliani, who was once worth tens of millions of dollars made partly on contracts he signed after leaving City Hall in New York, having become known as “America’s mayor” for his performance in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

A divorce from his third wife, Judith Nathan, cost him much of his wealth around the time he left his law firm to represent Mr. Trump, then the president, in the investigation brought by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III over whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russian officials in the 2016 election.

From there, Mr. Giuliani engaged in campaign efforts to find damaging information about Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Ukraine, where Mr. Biden’s son had business dealings, efforts that helped lead to Mr. Trump’s first impeachment.

As part of an investigation into Mr. Giuliani’s work in Ukraine, the F.B.I. searched his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in May 2021. That apartment is now on sale for $6.5 million.

 

The story of Rico and Rudy

By Richard Galant

August 20, 2023

https://view.newsletters.cnn.com

[Excerpts:]

It was RICO that brash young federal prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani used to craft an all-encompassing indictment against the heads of New York’s  organized crime families in 1985.

Thirty years later, it was Georgia’s version of RICO that Fani Willis, a rising prosecutor in the Fulton County district attorney’s office, used to convict 11 people of racketeering in the Atlanta test score cheating scandal. And it was the same law that Willis, now the county’s district attorney, used to indict Giuliani last week, along with former President Donald Trump and 17 others, charging them with acting as a racketeering enterprise to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

RICO laws are an especially powerful weapon prosecutors can use to charge a group of people who act together. Evidence of their misdeeds can secure convictions and allow for strict sentences that otherwise couldn’t be imposed.

The 97-page indictment unveiled by Willis last week cites a lot more evidence than could be arrayed against a sandwich served at lunch.

“The indictment paints an incredibly damning picture,” wrote former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers, “alleging an organized attempt by the former president and his allies to undermine the fabric of American democracy — something even the most sympathetic defendant will not easily be able to fight. Trump has denied wrongdoing, as have the other defendants who have made public statements to date.”

“The indictment describes eight ways in which the enterprise intended to achieve its criminal goals, including: making false statements to state legislators; making false statements to state officials; the fake electors scheme; the harassment and intimidation of election workers like Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss; soliciting the Justice Department to make false statements; soliciting the vice president to unlawfully reject Electoral College votes; the unlawful breach of election equipment in Coffee County; and obstruction of justice to cover up the conspiracy.”

 

After Years of Spreading Lies, Election Deniers Face Consequences

Legal repercussions have arrived for the leaders of the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential contest, in what could serve as a warning to those who meddle in future elections.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/15/us/politics/election-deniers-charges-indictment

Mr. Kirtzman is the author of and Mr. Holley the researcher for “Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of America’s Mayor.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/16/opinion/rudy-giuliani-georgia-indictment-trump

It is easy to forget, and in some ways difficult to imagine, that Rudy Giuliani was once revered for his integrity. He was seen by many as a hero long before Sept. 11, a seemingly fearless U.S. attorney who broke the back of the mob, took on Wall Street titans and sent political power brokers to prison.

With each sensational indictment from his office in the 1980s, Mr. Giuliani spoke like the priest he almost became about good and evil and the seductions of power and money.

“It’s a rare individual in public office who does not eventually become personally corrupt,” he said in 1988.

The comment takes on new meaning when you read through the Georgia grand jury’s indictment, Mr. Giuliani’s first as a defendant. The details make it clear that the crusader of the 1980s and ’90s has completely lost his ability to distinguish right from wrong. He has gone from a moral compass in a city teeming with corruption to a long-ago leader who has descended into a moral void.

Trump, allies charged with racketeering scheme over bid to subvert election in Georgia

The former president and 18 allies were indicted for what prosecutors described as a wide-ranging criminal enterprise.

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/14/fulton-county-trump-indictment-00111211

[Excerpt:]

A grand jury in Georgia has indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 allies on racketeering charges for a sweeping attempt to corrupt the 2020 election by subverting Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis leveled the charges Monday night after a two-year investigation that also tagged Trump with allegations that he conspired to derail the Electoral College process, marshaled the Justice Department to bolster his scheme, pressured Georgia officials to undo the election results and repeatedly lied about fraud allegations to ratchet up pressure.

In addition to Trump, Willis charged former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jeff Clark, Ken Chesebro and Jenna Ellis, key figures in Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election.

The 98-page indictment tracks several well-known aspects of Trump’s conduct in the chaotic weeks that followed his defeat in the Nov. 3, 2020, election, many of which were aired by the House Jan. 6 select committee and, more recently, in a federal indictment obtained by special counsel Jack Smith.

 

How Donald Trump tried to undo his loss in Georgia in 2020

[Excerpts:]
Two days after Election Day in 2020, President Donald Trump’s eldest son traveled to the Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Atlanta to deliver a message.
The presidential race was still too close to call in the state and in the country. Georgia Republicans were scrambling to prepare for two runoff elections that would determine control of the U.S. Senate. But Donald Trump Jr. urged them to focus on another task: helping his father win the state by proving that widespread fraud had tainted the results.

 

If you do not support my dad 100 percent, we have a problem, Donald Trump Jr. told the group, a Trump campaign staffer familiar with the meeting testified to the House committee that investigated the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The state party chairman, David Shafer, emerged looking “like he had seen a ghost,” the staffer said.

Their efforts involved scores of people — lawyers, political operatives, local GOP officials, senior White House officials and even the Justice Department.
A few weeks later, two lawyers pushing to overturn Trump’s loss — Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman — met with Georgia state senators and urged them to disregard the election results and formally back a slate of pro-Trump electors.
Robert Sinners, a Trump campaign staffer, then helped Giuliani and Eastman bring the pro-Trump slate together with the help of Sr and Shawn Still, then the state party finance chair. Smith, the Trump lawyer, attended the meeting.
To keep the fight alive, Trump assembled a new team led by Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, and including Eastman, a former law professor and onetime clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Giuliani drew national attention with a series of legislative hearings in two battlegrounds, Michigan and Pennsylvania, but his appearance with Eastman before a Georgia State Senate committee in Atlanta revealed the lengths Trump was willing to go to reverse his defeat.

Giuliani spoke to Georgia lawmakers on three occasions over three days in early December, little more than a week before presidential electors were scheduled to meet in each of the state capitols and cast ballots. In one of those meetings, Giuliani sat at a crowded table in a small hearing room and told lawmakers that they had the power to appoint Trump’s presidential electors.hafe

“There was ample evidence to conclude that this election was a sham,” Giuliani said. “It was an embarrassment to the people of your state.”

He went on to say that state law did not prevent the legislature from “immediately taking this over and deciding this. There would have to be a substantial basis for it. And that’s really what we’re presenting to you, a substantial basis, even to the point that these votes are too illegitimate to certify.”

Eastman, piped into the hearing on a video screen, told the assembled senators that if the Republican-controlled legislature chose to appoint a pro-Trump slate of electors, it could fall to the president of the U.S. Senate — at the time, Vice President Mike Pence — to determine if that slate should be counted in Congress’s Jan. 6 joint session rather than the Biden electors appointed by the governor when he certified the election results in late November.

Although widely overlooked at the time, Eastman’s remarks indicated that Trump’s electors may have met and voted in seven states on Dec. 14 not merely to preserve their legal recourse in pending lawsuits, as many claimed, but also to prepare for Jan. 6, when Trump and his allies would heavily lobby Pence to block the final counting of the electoral college votes for Biden.

“Unfortunately, Section 15 of Title III is embarrassingly ambiguous about which of those slate of electors ought to be counted,” Eastman told the senators. “And the 12th Amendment is also a bit ambiguous about who has the final say. So in making that determination, I think a very credible argument can be made that it’s the president of the Senate as the presiding officer of that joint session of Congress.”

State Sen. Elena Parent, a Democrat, reacted incredulously to what Eastman was saying. “So correct me if I’m wrong here,” she said during the live broadcast. “Your argument is that essentially we have a failed election that would require the legislature to step in and assign electors. Am I correct?”

Eastman’s reply: “Yes.”

 

‘Co-Conspirator 5’: Ken Chesebro and the evolution of Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 strategy

Read the documents that formed the rough draft of Trump’s scheme to stay in power.

The memos and emails reveal the underpinnings of a desperate strategy to assemble slates of fraudulent electors. 

By KYLE CHENEY

08/09/2023 

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/09/ken-chesebro-memos-trump-coconspirator

Attorney John Eastman is often credited as the architect of Donald Trump’s last-ditch attempt to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election.

But the work of lesser-known attorney Kenneth Chesebro — identified as “Co-Conspirator 5” in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment — may have been more instrumental in stoking the chaos that ultimately unfolded.

The House Jan. 6 select committee helped unearth several key documents drafted or contributed to by Chesebro that would become Trump’s strategy at crucial moments in the weeks following his loss to Joe Biden. The special counsel team unearthed another — an internal campaign memo referenced in the 45-page indictment last week and first revealed publicly Tuesday by The New York Times.

The memos and emails reveal the underpinnings of a desperate strategy to assemble slates of fraudulent electors, first to preserve legal options and later to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021, that might lead to Trump retaining the presidency. Along the way, Chesebro concocted methods for avoiding unfavorable court rulings, enlisting friendly allies in Congress to grease the skids and ultimately counting on Mike Pence to take “bold” steps to derail the impending Biden presidency. (Chesebro, through his lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Here’s a chronology of Chesebro’s key documents and proposals, which show how his thinking evolved from philosophical discussions to operational plans — and at times veered into outright fantasy.

NOV. 18, 2020 MEMO: Chesebro’s initial foray into Trump world’s upper echelons came as states prepared to certify their election results. Chesebro was advising Wisconsin-based Trump attorney Jim Troupis about a legal strategy for challenging the results there in court.

Here, Chesebro first emphasized that Jan. 6, 2021 was the real “hard deadline” for courts to rule on Trump’s election challenges. But he stressed that in order to sustain legal challenges to Wisconsin’s results, a slate of pro-Trump electors must convene on Dec. 14, 2020 and cast ballots as though they were legitimately elected.

“It may seem odd that electors pledged to Trump and Pence might meet and cast their votes on December 14 even if, at that juncture, the Trump-Pence ticket is behind in the vote count,” Chesebro wrote. “However, a fair reading of the federal statutes suggests that this is a reasonable course of action.”

Chesebro noted that if courts ruled in Trump’s favor, Congress may only be able to count electoral votes cast by the legally prescribed deadline of Dec. 14. In other words, it was a contingency plan while lawsuits were pending.

DEC. 6, 2020 MEMO: By early December, Chesebro’s thinking had shifted radically. A memo first described in the special counsel’s indictment, and publicly revealed Tuesday by The New York Times, showed that Chesebro began to view the pro-Trump electors as part of a strategy to derail the transfer of power altogether — not simply as a backup plan for the courts.

The memo, also directed to Troupis, suggested that the Trump campaign assemble alternate slates of electors in six states where legal challenges were pending.

“I’ve mulled over how January might play out, and it seems feasible that the Trump campaign can prevent Biden from amassing 270 electoral votes on January 6, and force the Members of Congress, the media, and the American people to focus on the substantive evidence of illegal election and counting activities in the six contested states,” Chesebro wrote.

He described three essential criteria: 1) Meetings of the pro-Trump elector slates on Dec. 14 in all six states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (a seventh, New Mexico, would be added later); 2) The existence of pending litigation in those states that could conceivably reverse the outcome; 3) A declaration by Pence that only he could decide which electoral votes to count on Jan. 6, 2021, when he presided over the joint session of Congress to certify the election.

“I’m not necessarily advising this course of action,” he added, describing it as a “bold, controversial strategy.”

Chesebro also used the memo to suggest that Trump’s elector slates meet secretly to avoid protest. At the same time, he wrote, the campaign should be prepared to characterize the meetings as “routine” contingency planning for potential legal victories.

DEC. 9, 2020 MEMO: Days after advising the campaign to convene its false elector slates, Chesebro provided a plan to operationalize the strategy. In a third memo to Troupis, Chesebro outlined the federal and state laws governing the meetings of the electors and how the Trump campaign could attempt to comply with those requirements in order to keep alive the chance that they would be counted by the courts or Congress.

Chesebro notes that no state legislatures had certified these alternate slates — Trump and his allies were still leaning on GOP legislators to take that step — but that the pro-Trump electors should meet anyway to cast contingent ballots. However, in some states, valid electors were required to meet in specific venues or under the guidance of specific state officials like the governor or secretary of state.

He noted the rules could make assembling alternate slates “very problematic” in Nevada and “somewhat dicey” in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

DEC. 13, 2020 NOTES TO RUDY GIULIANI: On the eve of the elector meetings, Chesebro typed up notes to Rudy Giuliani, a substitute for a memo he said he lost due to a “reboot on the hotel computer.” This document, which he forwarded to Eastman on Jan. 2, 2021, was publicly revealed last year, after a federal judge determined it constituted evidence of a likely crime.

In this memo, Chesebro laid out what he called the “President of the Senate” strategy — a reference to Pence’s role on Jan. 6, 2021. He strongly advocated that Pence take the position that he had ultimate authority to determine which electoral votes to count or ignore. Even if it couldn’t prevent Biden’s election, Chesebro reasoned, Pence’s declaration could help obtain leverage that might be used to broker some alternative outcome.

Most notably, Chesebro’s memo laid out a pre-Jan. 6 timeline that would help facilitate the plan. It began with a Jan. 3-5 plan for friendly GOP lawmakers to hold hearings highlighting the ambiguities of the Electoral Count Act — the law that has governed the transfer of power since 1887 — and the vice president’s role in counting electoral votes. The goal was to feature testimony from allied legal scholars to “buttress the substantive basis for the President of the Senate later refusing to count votes from those states, absent more needed scrutiny.”

On Jan. 6, Chesebro said, Pence would announce his recusal from presiding over the joint session of Congress, citing the unconstitutionality of the Electoral Count Act as well as a conflict of interest because of his candidacy for reelection. This, Chesebro contended, would “insulate” Pence from charges of making a self-serving decision and leave the matter ostensibly in the hands of a senior Republican senator. Then, after beginning to count electoral votes from an alphabetical list of states, that senator would refuse to count the votes from Arizona, citing the competing slates of electors. If Arizona wants to be counted, this senator would say, it would either have to “rerun” its election or allow for more judicial review of the outcome.

Chesebro predicted controversy and conflict would ensue from this step — and noted Biden could still emerge victorious if the conflict made its way to the Supreme Court. But he said the Supreme Court might refuse to step in, avoiding the clash between the political branches. In that scenario, he said, with the White House and Congress at loggerheads, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi might become acting president on Jan. 20. But another outcome, he said — one that appears even more far-fetched in hindsight — might play out: Trump could quit the race in exchange for a negotiated deal to make Pence president.

“In this situation,” Chesebro wrote, “which would be messy and unpalatable to many … it doesn’t seem fanciful to think Trump and Pence would end up winning the vote after some legislatures appoint electors, or else that there might be a negotiated solution in which the Senate elects Pence vice president and Trump agrees to drop his bid … so that Biden and Harris are defeated, even though Trump isn’t re-elected.”

DEC. 23, 2020 EASTMAN EMAIL TO BORIS EPSHTEYN: Eastman distilled his own analyses and Chesebro’s advice into a pair of memos he brought to Trump and Pence. On Dec. 23, Eastman shared a draft of one of those memos with Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, cc’ing Chesebro on the message. Eastman signaled to Epshteyn that Chesebro had edited the memo. He also noted that he and Chesebro agreed that congressional hearings to bolster their case were no longer advisable because they could “invite counter views that we do not believe should constrain Pence (or Grassley).”

“Better for them to just act boldly and be challenged,” Eastman wrote.

This step, Eastman noted, would likely result in the Supreme Court refusing to take up the case “on nonjusticiable political question grounds” — in other words, a win for Trump by default.

DEC. 31 2020 EMAIL FROM CHESEBRO TO EASTMAN AND OTHER TRUMP LAWYERS: Chesebro was also involved in the campaign’s broader legal strategy to try to get a friendly judge to give judicial imprimatur to the notion that the election results were in doubt — especially in Georgia. While Trump worked, via Justice Department official Jeff Clark, to get the department to similarly use its institutional power to cast doubt on the results, Chesebro suggested targeting efforts at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas is the so-called “circuit justice” for Georgia and neighboring states, meaning he performs the initial review of emergency appeals arising from that part of the country.

“The point is to have the court say that probably the election was void, which should be enough to prevent the Senate from counting the Biden electoral votes from Georgia, right?” Chesebro said in an email to Eastman and a larger group of lawyers working on Trump’s post-election legal efforts.

“Possibly Thomas would end up being the key here — circuit justice, right? We want to frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in legitimate doubt,” Chesebro wrote. “Realistically, our only chance to get a favorable judicial opinion by Jan. 6, which might hold up the Georgia count in Congress, is from Thomas — do you agree, Prof. Eastman?”

Eastman, a former Thomas clerk who had at times been in touch with his wife Ginni during the post-election period, replied: “I think I agree with this. If the court were to give us ‘likely,’ that may be enough to kick the Georgia Legislature into gear, because I’ve been getting a lot of calls from them indicating to me they’re leaning that way.”

JAN. 1, 2021 NOTES TO EPSHTEYN AND EASTMAN: Chesebro’s last known message ahead of Jan. 6 was a set of 14 talking points for congressional Republicans to challenge the limits imposed on them by the Electoral Count Act. It was his most specific and granular advice yet regarding the minutiae of Congress’ procedures.

In particular, Chesebro advocated for friendly GOP lawmakers to resist the law’s limit of just five minutes of debate per lawmaker — with a maximum aggregate debate time of two hours — during formal challenges to a state’s electors.

Chesebro reasoned that Pence could side with the objecting lawmakers and agree that debate could not constitutionally be limited without a cloture vote of 60 senators.

“It might be politically painful for a Republican to vote to cut off debate,” Chesebro contended, adding, “It could take hours of debate on each state before a filibuster is overcome.”

But Chesebro noted one huge, little-understood hurdle: Every four years — for decades — Congress has affirmatively bound itself to the strict limits of the Electoral Count Act by adopting a “concurrent resolution” agreeing to abide by the terms of the 136-year-old law. If that resolution were passed on Jan. 3, 2021, he noted, it would remove any possible challenge to the constitutionality of the procedures.

As a result, Chesebro advocated for a lawmaker — like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) — to attempt to block the concurrent resolution, forcing a debate and vote. Chesebro said this plan would be useful to determine the whip count among Senate Republicans for challenges to the election results.

Chesebro also sought to reconcile his call for lengthy debates with his larger argument that Pence — not Congress — got to determine which electors to count. He said Pence could simply allow the debates to proceed without conceding their legitimacy, buying time for the Supreme Court or state legislatures to act.

Ultimately, no lawmaker objected to the concurrent resolution, which was adopted unanimously on Jan. 3, 2021.

 

Rudy Giuliani Becomes Unhinged in Newsmax Interview Over Trump Indictment

Referred to as “Co-Conspirator 1” in the indictment of Donald Trump, the former prosecutor, mayor and presidential lawyer faces an uncertain legal future.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/02/nyregion/giuliani-co-conspirator-trump-indictment

Rudolph W. Giuliani is Co-Conspirator 1.

Mr. Giuliani, the crime-fighter who rose from a federal prosecutor’s office to lead New York City at its moment of deepest crisis, is not named in the indictment that was filed Tuesday accusing his former client, Donald J. Trump, of plotting to overturn the 2020 election.

But Co-Conspirator 1, who Mr. Giuliani’s lawyer acknowledged appeared to be his client, figures in each of the three conspiracies it alleges took place — leaving open the possibility that Mr. Giuliani could be charged himself.

The next chapter in his long public life will now be written by the special counsel who filed the indictment, Jack Smith, who can prosecute him, pressure him into cooperating or leave him dangling, potentially to be indicted by a district attorney investigating election interference in Georgia.

The former mayor who made his name as a lawman now faces a reckoning with the law.

Mr. Giuliani’s relationship with Mr. Trump hangs in the balance. A person close to Mr. Trump who spoke confidentially to describe a private relationship said that while they don’t speak regularly, the former president retains a fondness for Mr. Giuliani born from his stint as mayor, when the two dealt with each other often.

But in recent years, their relationship has been on uneven footing as the former president had refused to pay his former lawyer’s legal bills amid mounting legal troubles for both, infuriating Mr. Giuliani’s allies. The former president had told advisers that he did not want Mr. Giuliani to be reimbursed, The New York Times reported.

This year, filings suggest, Mr. Trump’s super PAC paid a legal vendor working on Mr. Giuliani’s behalf. The $340,000 payment was made weeks before Mr. Giuliani met voluntarily with Mr. Smith’s office — a meeting that took place under a proffer agreement, in which prosecutors consent to not use any statements during an interview in criminal proceedings unless it is determined that the subject was lying. The agreement does not mean that prosecutors will not charge Mr. Giuliani, nor does it indicate they will seek his cooperation.

The payment appeared to bail Mr. Giuliani out of a difficult financial situation. Before it was made, he had told the federal judge presiding over a defamation lawsuit filed against him by two Georgia election workers that he could not afford to pay some of his legal expenses.

Tuesday’s indictment, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, details five ways in which six co-conspirators aided Mr. Trump. The attempts begin with efforts to persuade state officials — sometimes by using threats — to overturn the legitimate vote so that false electors could deliver their support to Mr. Trump in the Electoral College. They end with attempts to flip the result even after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Mr. Giuliani, 79, was involved in every step, the indictment says. He bullied and cajoled officials in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; helped convene slates of fraudulent electors to cast ballots for Mr. Trump; falsely claimed that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the election; and, finally, called lawmakers after the attack on the Capitol, asking that they delay the election’s certification.

On Tuesday, Mr. Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert J. Costello, said that his client appeared to be the person identified as Co-Conspirator 1 before blasting the indictment, saying it “eviscerates the First Amendment” and was meant to disrupt Mr. Trump’s third presidential campaign.

“Every fact that Mayor Giuliani possesses about this case establishes the good-faith basis President Donald Trump had for the action that he took,” Mr. Costello said.

“This indictment underscores the tragic reality of our two-tiered justice system — one for the regime in power and the other for anyone who dares to oppose the ruling regime,” Ted Goodman, political adviser to Mr. Giuliani, said on Wednesday.

By this stage of his alliance with the former president, Mr. Giuliani is used to legal trouble.

The two men have known each other for decades. After serving in the Reagan Justice Department, Mr. Giuliani in 1983 became the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, one of the most prominent legal posts in the government. There, he focused on disrupting organized crime, zeroing in on the five Mafia families of New York. At the same time, Mr. Trump was leveraging his real estate empire to burnish his tabloid celebrity.

The men shared a thirst for public attention and a harsh law-and-order politics that kept them aligned after Mr. Giuliani was elected mayor in 1993.

His leadership after the Sept. 11 attacks briefly vaulted Mr. Giuliani to the pinnacle of American public life; he was named Time magazine’s person of the year, his leadership compared to that of Winston Churchill. But after Mr. Giuliani left office at the end of 2001 he sank toward irrelevancy, a decline reflected in his failed 2008 Republican presidential campaign.

When he re-emerged, it was on behalf of Mr. Trump. He was an omnipresent surrogate for the candidate in the final stages of the 2016 campaign and never abandoned Mr. Trump once he became president. In 2018 — despite having been passed over for the position he coveted, secretary of state — Mr. Giuliani began working as a lawyer for Mr. Trump.

By that time, the president was fighting a first special counsel investigation, led by Robert S. Mueller III, which concerned possible Russian interference in the election. Mr. Giuliani joined the battle with gusto, saying that Mr. Trump was being targeted for his politics.

Like several of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Mr. Giuliani became embroiled in the legal travails of his client. He had tried to push a new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Joseph R. Biden Jr. as Mr. Biden emerged as Mr. Trump’s chief rival in the 2020 presidential race. Mr. Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine prompted federal prosecutors in Manhattan to open an investigation into the man who had once led the office.

Mr. Smith has homed in on the aftermath of Mr. Biden’s victory that year. The indictment says that Mr. Trump on Nov. 14, 2020, appointed Mr. Giuliani to “spearhead his efforts going forward to challenge the election results.”

Mr. Giuliani took up the mission, meeting with speakers of the house in Arizona and Michigan, asking them to replace their proper electors with groups that would cast votes for Mr. Trump. In all, Mr. Giuliani helped coordinate a scheme to put forward fraudulent slates of electors in seven states, the indictment said.

In Georgia, Mr. Giuliani organized a presentation for lawmakers where people claiming to be electoral fraud experts falsely claimed that 10,000 dead people had voted.

And after the attack on the U.S. Capitol delayed the certification of the election, Mr. Giuliani helped Mr. Trump lobby lawmakers, unsuccessfully, to keep Mr. Biden out of the White House.

When Mr. Trump left office, the legal pressure on Mr. Giuliani escalated.

FB.I. agents searched his home and office, seizing cellphones and computers. The federal investigation into Mr. Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine ended in 2022 with no charges, but he was sued by voting machine companies that he claimed had helped engineer Mr. Biden’s victory.

In June, his law license was suspended in connection with the statements he made about the 2020 election. Mr. Giuliani’s legal bills piled up. Mr. Trump was declining to pay him even as Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, investigated him for his attempts to overturn the election in Georgia.

Soon, Mr. Smith would join her.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

Jonah E. Bromwich covers criminal justice in New York, with a focus on the Manhattan district attorney’s office, state criminal courts in Manhattan and New York City’s jails. More about Jonah E. Bromwich

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/08/01/doj-trump-indictment-trump-coconspirators/

The indictment describes “Co-Conspirator 1” as an attorney “who was willing to spread knowingly false claims and pursue strategies” that Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign would not pursue. Giuliani served as Trump’s personal attorney and was central to efforts by the Trump team to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

A former federal prosecutor and celebrated New York mayor who was regarded as a national hero in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Giuliani spearheaded bogus legal challenges in key battleground states, including Michigan and Georgia, promoting unsupported claims of vast election fraud. He continued to do so even as many state and federal officials — including William P. Barr, Trump’s own attorney general — disputed those claims.

Among other things, the indictment says that Trump turned to this co-conspirator to echo false claims of election fraud when his own advisers told him that he had lost the vote count and that both knew they were making false claims as they sought to “impair, obstruct and defeat” the 2020 election results, including by putting pressure on Republican lawmakers in key battleground states.

The indictment alleges this co-conspirator privately acknowledged he had no proof for the claims he was making. “We don’t have the evidence, but we have lots of theories,” he allegedly told one Arizona lawmaker who demanded proof of illegal votes in that state, according to the indictment.

These claims prompted concern from Trump campaign staffers, according to the indictment. When the co-conspirator claimed Pennsylvania had counted more absentee ballots than it had sent out, a campaign staffer sent an internal email saying the claim was “just wrong” and “there’s no way to defend it,” according to the indictment.

Ted Goodman, political adviser and spokesman for Giuliani, said in a statement that the indictment criminalizes the act of “daring to ask questions about the 2020 election results.”

“Every fact Mayor Rudy Giuliani possesses about this case establishes the good faith basis President Donald Trump had for the actions he took during the two-month period charged in the indictment,” Goodman said.

DAVID FRENCH

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/20/opinion/jan-6-legal

[Excerpt:]

Does anything make a difference in the fight against Trump’s lawlessness and lies?

The answer is yes, and the record is impressive. Let’s go through it.

The pro-Trump media ecosphere that repeated and amplified his election lies has paid a price. Fox News agreed to a stunning $787 million defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, and multiple defamation cases continue against multiple right-wing media outlets.

Trump’s lawyers and his lawyer allies have paid a price. Last month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the bulk of a sanctions award against Sidney Powell and a Mos Eisley cantina’s worth of Trump-allied lawyers. A New York State appellate court temporarily suspended Rudy Giuliani’s law license in 2021, and earlier this month a Washington, D.C., bar panel recommended that he be disbarred. Jenna Ellis, one of Guiliani’s partners in dangerous dishonesty and frivolous legal arguments, admitted to making multiple misrepresentations in a public censure from the Colorado Bar Association. John Eastman, the former dean of Chapman University’s law school and the author of an infamous legal memo that suggested Mike Pence could overturn the election, is facing his own bar trial in California.

Congress has responded to the Jan. 6 crisis, passing bipartisan Electoral Count Act reforms that would make a repeat performance of the congressional attempt to overturn the election far more difficult.

The Supreme Court has responded, deciding Moore v. Harper, which gutted the independent state legislature doctrine and guaranteed that partisan state legislatures are still subject to review by the courts.

The criminal justice system has responded, securing hundreds of criminal convictions of Jan. 6 rioters, including seditious conspiracy convictions for multiple members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. And the criminal justice system is still responding, progressing steadily up the command and control chain, with Trump himself apparently the ultimate target.

In roughly 30 months — light speed in legal time — the American legal system has built the case law necessary to combat and deter American insurrection. Bar associations are setting precedents. Courts are setting precedents. And these precedents are holding in the face of appeals and legal challenges.

Do you wonder why the 2022 election was relatively routine and uneventful, even though the Republicans fielded a host of conspiracy-theorist candidates? Do you wonder why right-wing media was relatively tame after a series of tough G.O.P. losses, especially compared to the deranged hysterics in 2020? Yes, it matters that Trump was not a candidate, but it also matters that the right’s most lawless members have been prosecuted, sued and sanctioned.

The consequences for Jan. 6 and the Stop the Steal movement are not exclusively legal. The midterm elections also represented a profound setback for the extreme MAGA right. According to an NBC News report, election-denying candidates “overwhelmingly lost” their races in swing states. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the relentless legal efforts also had a political payoff.

And to be clear, this accountability has not come exclusively through the left — though the Biden administration and the Garland Justice Department deserve immense credit for their responses to Trump’s insurrection, which have been firm without overreaching. Multiple Republicans joined with Democrats to pass Electoral Count Act reform. Both conservative and liberal justices rejected the independent state legislature doctrine. Conservative and liberal judges, including multiple Trump appointees, likewise rejected Trump’s election challenges. Republican governors and other Republican elected officials in Arizona and Georgia withstood immense pressure from within their own party to uphold Joe Biden’s election win.

American legal institutions have passed the Jan. 6 test so far, but the tests aren’t over. Trump is already attempting to substantially delay the trial on his federal indictment in the Mar-a-Lago case, and if a second federal indictment arrives soon, he’ll almost certainly attempt to delay it as well. Trump does not want to face a jury, and if he delays his trials long enough, he can run for president free of any felony convictions. And what if he wins?

 

DC Bar panel recommends Giuliani be disbarred

A preliminary report from the D.C. Bar Association recommends that former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani be disbarred over his efforts to challenge the 2020 election.

The report, released Friday by a committee assembled to review his conduct, determine that Giuliani “seriously undermined the administration of justice” by bringing a suit “seeking to change the result of the 2020 presidential election when he had no factual basis, and consequently no legitimate legal grounds, to do so.”

“The right to vote is the ‘essence of a democratic society.’ Respondent’s frivolous lawsuit attempted unjustifiably and without precedent to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters, and ultimately sought to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election. He claimed massive election fraud but had no evidence of it,” the committee wrote in its report.

“By prosecuting that destructive case Mr. Giuliani, a sworn officer of the Court, forfeited his right to practice law. He should be disbarred.” [Boldface added]

The report is not a final determination but is nonetheless a blow to Giuliani as he fights to retain his law license after a December hearing. The matter will next go to the bar’s Board on Professional Responsibility and then to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Ted Goodman, a spokesman for Giuliani, said the DC bar was persecuting the former mayor on “behalf of the permanent corrupt regime in Washington.”

“This is also part of a larger effort to deny President Trump effective counsel by persecuting Mayor Giuliani—objectively one of the most effective prosecutors in American history,” Goodman said. 

The Trump campaign brought more than 60 lawsuits after former President Trump lost the 2020 election, failing to score a victory in any of them.

Many of them have since become the basis for professional responsibility reviews for several other Trump attorneys. Jenna Ellis was censured by the Colorado Supreme Court, while a Texas judge tossed a similar review into Sidney Powell. 

The D.C. Bar panel likewise weighed Giuliani’s prior public service but determined it did not outweigh his conduct in the aftermath of the presidential election.

“We have considered in mitigation Mr. Giuliani’s conduct following the September 11 attacks as well as his prior service in the Justice Department and as Mayor of New York City. But all of that happened long ago,” they wrote.

“The misconduct here sadly transcends all his past accomplishments. It was unparalleled in its destructive purpose and effect. He sought to disrupt a presidential election and persists in his refusal to acknowledge the wrong he has done.”

 

Exclusive: Special counsel trades immunity for fake elector testimony as Jan 6 probe heats up

Updated  June 23, 2023

[Excerpts:]

Special counsel Jack Smith has compelled at least two Republican fake electors to testify to a federal grand jury in Washington in recent weeks by giving them limited immunity, part of a current push by federal prosecutors to swiftly nail down evidence in the sprawling criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

In recent weeks, the special counsel’s office has also shown interest in several members of Trump’s post-election legal team who promoted baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, including his former lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as former Justice Department appointee Jeffrey Clark, who tried to help Trump’s push to use the Department of Justice to overturn the election.

Giuliani played a key role in overseeing the fake electors plot across seven battleground states as part of the broader push to overturn the 2020 presidential election results for Trump, as CNN has previously reported.

Prosecutors have also continued to focus on potential financial crimes and money laundering after Trump raised millions of dollars off false claims the election was stolen. One former Trump campaign official who testified this month before the grand jury was asked about specific campaign ads and messaging produced as part of those fundraising activities, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Multiple 2020 election witnesses are scheduled for grand jury appointments in the coming days, sources say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bernie Kerik Pitched Mark Meadows on ‘$5 to $8’ Million Plan To Reverse Trump 2020 Loss

Bernie Kerik had a plan to keep former President Trump in office after losing the 2020 election — and he knew how much it would cost. Roughly.

Per an email surfaced in a defamation lawsuit brought against Rudy Giuliani, Kerik wrote to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a Dec. 28, 2020 missive that he would need “between $5 to $8M” to put a plan into action that would pressure state legislators into throwing their electors behind Trump.

It was one feature of a broader effort to co-opt state legislatures into a scheme that would have seen them try to send slates of fake electors to Washington on January 6. A “strategic communications plan” attached to Kerik’s email indicated he would need millions of dollars to work alongside Giuliani to “pressure” state lawmakers into cooperating.

Kerik is a longtime Giuliani confidante who served as commissioner of the New York City Police Department during Giuliani’s mayoralty. Thanks to a recommendation from Giuliani, he went on to serve as the interim interior minister of Iraq during the country’s occupation by U.S. forces. In 2010, Kerik went to prison after pleading guilty to a slew of charges including tax fraud and making false statements to the White House in conjunction with his vetting for federal posts. Kerik was pardoned by Trump in 2020.

The message with Kerik’s multimillion-dollar ask and strategic plan emerged in a defamation lawsuit that Giuliani faces brought by two Georgia poll workers, Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman. Giuliani spent months in late 2020 and early 2021 claiming that the mother-daughter pair were caught on video unloading ballots from a suitcase at an arena in Fulton County, Georgia, while saying falsely that one of the two had a criminal record. The allegations against Moss and Freeman, and Trump’s claims that Georgia was stolen from him, were shown repeatedly to be baseless.

This new email is further indication of how the efforts to overturn the election were intertwined with requests for cash — and the eye popping sums that were involved. Kerik pestered Meadows for money on Giuliani’s behalf more than once in late 2020 as the pair worked to help Trump build his myth of a stolen election and attempt to reverse his loss. In a Dec. 1, 2020 text to Meadows that TPM obtained and published last year, Kerik told Meadows that he was “airborne on the way to Michigan from Arizona.”

“We’re going to need a hotel for the team and two vehicles to pick us up. Christina Bobb, Who is our coordinator back in DC does not have a credit card or authorization for these logistics,” he wrote. “I reached out to Mike Glassner who Apparently is no longer on payroll. Can you I have some money coordinate with Christina to handle? Thank you sir”

Weeks later, on Dec. 28, Kerik popped up again — this time via the message that surfaced in the defamation lawsuit this year, which was sent to Meadows’ White House email address.

In that missive, Kerik told Meadows that Giuliani had sent a message the night before, before telling the Trump chief of staff that “we need to pull the trigger today, to have the impact that’s needed in the states that we’re targeting.” He also made clear his needs were growing beyond hotels and cars and that launching the effort would cost money.

“We’re estimating it’s going to run between $5 to $8M,” he wrote, adding, “With all due respect, we don’t want the campaign comms people involved… We need this to get done, done right, and done now.”

Kerik added that only “specific pressure in targeted areas” would work.

“There is only one thing that’s going to move the needle and force the legislators to do what their constitutionally obligated to do, and that is apply pressure,” he wrote.

Kerik, at the time, also used his personal Twitter account to post fragments of his strategy memo to the public.

In a deposition in the Freeman lawsuit, Giuliani alternatingly confirmed and denied his support for the plan to pitch the White House. He told attorneys that “I let them do it” and that he was “opposed to it.

It’s not clear how receptive Meadows was to Kerik’s requests for funding. Weeks later, the Washington Post reported that Trump had told aides not to pay Giuliani for legal fees, and not to reimburse him for expenses he incurred while traveling the country to pressure state legislators into reversing Trump’s loss. Giuliani reportedly wanted $20,000 per day for the work.

However, even thought Giuliani and Kerik might not have secured all of the funds they hoped to receive for their services, there are indications Meadows was working with them after receiving Kerik’s email. According to texts from Mark Meadows’ phone obtained by TPM, then-Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) texted Meadows the day after Kerik sent his strategy to Meadows about a “call” he was trying to set up between “state legislature leaders and Rudy.”

“I just want to make sure I’m doing what you and the president want. We also have a joint statement ready as well. Thanks,” Perdue added. It’s not clear if that was part of Kerik’s plan.

An attorney for Meadows didn’t return TPM’s request for comment.

Kerik initially agreed to an interview about the matter, but then declined to comment. Timothy Parlatore, an attorney for Kerik, told TPM that he doesn’t “really have time to waste on that case.”

Take a look at the email below:

The Audacity Of Rudy
The Weekender from TPM
Hunter Walker & Josh Kovensky
June 17, 2023
[Excerpt:]

Recent filings in the defamation suit filed by a pair of Georgia election workers against Rudy Giuliani shed new light on the part “America’s mayor” played in the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. They also show just how ham-fisted the whole thing was.

There is an ongoing fight over documents in the case, which centers on the thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories Giuliani spread accusing the women of somehow being involved in election fraud designed to thwart former President Trump. Giuliani and his longtime sidekick, Bernie Kerik, are both slow walking requests for emails and other communications from the womens’ attorneys.

In an effort to prove Kerik and Giuliani have documents relevant to the suit, the lawyers for the women have solicited testimony and unearthed some communications from the pair. TPM has been sifting through the filings, and we just published a pair of stories with some highlights.

One of the emails from Kerik to Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shows a “strategic communications plan” the Giuliani crew came up with to reverse the election. It also reveals Kerik wanted “between $5 to $8M” to put these ideas into action. Testimony from the suit, coupled with an email that came up in earlier legal wrangling over Meadows’ attempts to keep his communications from prying eyes, also shows Giuliani was using an email address “rhelen0528@gmail.com” for some of his conversations about a plan some Trump allies thought could be used to change the result.

Giuliani’s attorney, Joe Sibley, confirmed the address was the “main email used by him to communicate with pretty much everyone” and that it was based on his mother’s name, “Helen.” Sibley also insisted there was “nothing unusual” about Giuliani using a female alias for his emails.

Giuliani using the name “Helen” while enacting what he and his allies seemingly hoped would be a multimillion dollar strategic plan is comical, but there are also larger implications. The fact members of Trump’s inner circle were using email aliases to work on their election plots shows there was some stab at secrecy. In Giuliani’s case it wasn’t a very good one. Not only did this address come out in court, but it also involved both his mother’s name and birthdate, May 28. The fact that Giuliani, a self-styled cybersecurity expert, had email addresses that were like the digital version of Mel Brooks’ idiot’s luggage is simply ridiculous.

That’s the thing with so much of the Trumpworld election plotting. It was, on many levels so bungled and silly, and yet, it did real damage and maybe even almost worked. These darkly comedic moments expose the foolishness of the people who sought to overthrow our democracy, but at the same time, they also serve to show the fragility of the system the plotters tried to end.

 

Judge orders Rudy Giuliani to detail finances in election defamation suit

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/05/19/rudy-giuliani-election-defamation-suit-00097983

[Excerpts:]

A federal judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to provide a detailed accounting of his finances and net worth in connection with a lawsuit filed by two Georgia poll workers who contend the Trump lawyer defamed them by publicly accusing them of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell issued the order during an unusual hearing Friday on ongoing disputes about access to Giuliani’s evidence related to the suit brought by Ruby Freeman and Wandrea Moss two years ago.

“Bruce Castor dumps Rudy Giuliani as a client: ‘He’s not cooperating, and he’s not paying me’”

Philadelphia Inquirer:

Bruce Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney and county commissioner who represented former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial, filed an eight-page motion in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, asking to no longer represent former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a civil suit.

Castor summed up his gripe about Giuliani to Clout more succinctly: “He’s not cooperating, and he’s not paying me.”

James Savage, a Delaware County voting-machine supervisor, sued Trump, his 2020 presidential campaign, Giuliani, and two local Republican poll watchers in November 2021, saying their unsubstantiated claims about the 2020 election made him a target of hatred, ridicule, and physical threats.

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

May 16, 2023

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

[Excerpt:]

A lawsuit filed today in New York by Noelle Dunphy, a woman who says Trump ally Rudy Giuliani hired her in January 2019 to manage his media presence, documents the sordid world she observed in her two years working for Giuliani. He promised her a salary of $1 million a year but said he couldn’t pay her until his divorce was final and, ultimately, paid her only small amounts of cash. In her account, he seemed to become obsessed with her, forcing her into sex and trying to dominate her. She is suing Giuliani, his companies, and 10 unidentified individuals over “unlawful abuses of power, wide-ranging sexual assault and harassment, wage theft, and other misconduct” and is asking for $10 million in compensation and damages.

The story of her time with Giuliani, whom she describes as a chronically alcoholic sexual abuser prone to racist and sexist outbursts, is bad enough—and she claims to have recordings—but her other allegations are politically incendiary. She claims to have heard Giuliani say that he was selling presidential pardons for $2 million a pop, splitting the proceeds with Trump, and that Giuliani told her on February 7, 2019, “about a plan that had been prepared for if Trump lost the 2020 election.” Specifically, Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy that Trump’s team would claim that there was ‘voter fraud’ and that Trump had actually won the election…. That same day, Giuliani had Ms. Dunphy sit in on a speakerphone conversation about a potential business opportunity involving a $72 billion dollar gas deal in China.”

Also of note is her claim that, since part of her job was managing emails, Giuliani gave her access to his email account. The system stored at least 23,000 emails on her own personal computer, including “privileged, confidential, and highly sensitive” emails from, to, or concerning Trump, his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump; Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner; Trump’s lawyers and advisors; media figures including Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson; and so on.

[Boldface added]

The Justice Department has been gathering evidence about whether the former president and his allies solicited donations with claims of election fraud they knew to be false.

Maggie HabermanAlan Feuer and 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/28/us/politics/jan-6-prosecutors-trump-fund-raising

[Excerpts:]

As they investigate former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, federal prosecutors have also been drilling down on whether Mr. Trump and a range of political aides knew that he had lost the race but still raised money off claims that they were fighting widespread fraud in the vote results, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Led by the special counsel Jack Smith, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Mr. Trump and his aides violated federal wire fraud statutes as they raised as much as $250 million through a political action committee by saying they needed the money to fight to reverse election fraud even though they had been told repeatedly that there was no evidence to back up those fraud claims.

The prosecutors are looking at the inner workings of the committee, Save America PAC, and at the Trump campaign’s efforts to prove its baseless case that Mr. Trump had been cheated out of victory.

But more recently, investigators have homed in on the activities of a joint fund-raising committee made up of staff members from the 2020 Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, among others. Some of the subpoenas have sought documents from around Election Day 2020 up to the present.

Prosecutors have been heavily focused on details of the campaign’s finances, spending and fund-raising, such as who was approving email solicitations that were blasted out to lists of possible small donors and what they knew about the truth of the fraud claims, according to the people familiar with their work. All three areas overlap, and could inform prosecutors’ thinking about whether to proceed with charges in an investigation in which witnesses are still being interviewed.

The possibility that the fund-raising efforts might have been criminally fraudulent was first raised last year by the House select committee investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to retain power.

But the Justice Department, with its ability to bring criminal charges, has been able to prompt more extensive cooperation from a number of witnesses. And prosecutors have developed more information than the House committee did, having targeted communications between Trump campaign aides and other Republican officials to determine if a barrage of fund-raising solicitations sent out after the election were knowingly misleading, according to the three people familiar with the matter.

On Thursday, former Vice President Mike Pence, a key witness to Mr. Trump’s efforts, testified for hours to the grand jury gathering evidence in the investigation.

Prosecutors have been looking at the nexus between research the Trump campaign commissioned almost immediately after the election to try to prove widespread fraud, public statements that he and his allies made at the time, the fund-raising efforts and the establishment of Save America.

The Washington Post reported earlier on the efforts by the campaign to fund research into claims of fraud and the new round of subpoenas.

Republicans may also argue that Democrats have been loose in claims they have used in fund-raising solicitations. And the Trump campaign may argue that it did in fact use the funds to try to investigate fraud.

A Trump campaign adviser said the “deep state” was ramping up its attacks on the former president as his poll numbers rose. “The ‘political police’ have been pushing their witch hunt since President Trump came down the escalator, and they’ve been proven wrong every single time,” the adviser added.

Officials with the Republican National Committee declined to comment.

Immediately after the election, an adviser to the Trump campaign reached out to Ken Block, the owner of a Rhode Island-based firm, Simpatico Software Systems, to have him evaluate specific allegations of fraud.

Mr. Block ended up researching multiple claims of possible fraud that Mr. Trump’s aides brought to him. He never produced a final report. But each time he investigated a claim, he said in an interview, he found there was nothing to it.

Mr. Block said he had disproved “everything that came in and found no substantive fraud sufficient to overturn an election result.” He said he was isolated from what was taking place within the campaign, as Mr. Trump railed at aides about staying in office and continued to insist he had won an election that he was repeatedly told he had lost.

“I was kept very walled off from all of the insanity,” said Mr. Block, whose firm was paid $735,000, records show. He received a subpoena for documents, but declined in the interview to discuss anything related to the grand jury.

Days after starting to work with Mr. Block and Simpatico, the Trump campaign hired a second firm, the Berkeley Research Group. The federal grand jury has received evidence that Berkeley was hired at the suggestion of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, who was overseeing the political operation.

The grand jury has been asking questions related to whether Mr. Trump was briefed on findings by Berkeley suggesting there had been no widespread fraud.

The company ultimately submitted a report indicating there had been no fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election, and was paid roughly $600,000 for its work. The company was hired through a law firm that has long represented Mr. Trump in his personal capacity, Kasowitz Benson Torres, although lawyers there were not involved in pursuing Mr. Trump’s election fraud claims, according to a person briefed on the matter.

During the House Jan. 6 committee’s proceedings last year, several people close to Mr. Trump testified that they had informed him that there had been no fraud sufficient to change the outcome of the voting.

Within two weeks of the election, the Trump campaign’s own communications staff drafted an internal report debunking many aspects of a conspiracy theory that voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems had been hacked and used to flip votes away from Mr. Trump. That report was written before pro-Trump lawyers like Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani promoted the false Dominion story at news conferences and on television.

As part of its investigation into the Trump campaign’s postelection fund-raising, the Jan. 6 panel subpoenaed records from Salesforce.com, a vendor that helped the campaign and the Republican National Committee send emails to potential donors. The R.N.C. fought back, filing a lawsuit to quash the subpoena, and the House committee ultimately withdrew it.

[Boldface added]

As 2024 race begins, special counsel advances with focus on Trump lawyers

Prosecutors have sought information from multiple attorneys and senior aides to the former president, triggering new legal battles

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/03/03/trump-documents-jan6-investigation-lawyers/

[Excerpt:]

Federal prosecutors investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election have asked witnesses extensive questions about the actions of Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for former president Donald Trump — including where he got his information about alleged fraud, what he did in the days around Jan. 6, 2021, and what he knew about the actions coming that day, people who have appeared in front of the grand jury say.

 

Georgia Poll Workers Pick Up Where Jan. 6 Committee Left Off

An obscure defamation case could actually yield more information about Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s communications than what the Jan. 6 Committee could get.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/georgia-poll-workers-ruby-freeman-and-shaye-moss-pick-up-where-jan-6-committee-left-off-on-trump-and-giuliani

[Excerpts:]

Two Georgia poll workers who were attacked by 2020 election conspiracy theorists are picking up where the Jan. 6 congressional investigation left off—by trying to independently examine the private communications between two of the men behind the firestorm: Rudy Giuliani and former President Donald Trump.

But now, a mother and daughter still reeling from the MAGA harassment are trying to pierce that veil.

Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss of Fulton County, Georgia, are turning their defamation lawsuit against Giuliani into a no-limits, fact-finding mission, according to an undisclosed letter from their attorneys reviewed exclusively by The Daily Beast.

Freeman and Moss experienced some of the worst vitriol that came out of Trump’s refusal to cede power after losing his bid to remain in the White House. In the weeks after the November 2020 election, the Trump campaign desperately searched for any shred of evidence that would cast doubt on the results. Giuliani zeroed in on surveillance video of the women, who were serving as poll workers at a Fulton County vote tabulation center.

At the time, Giuliani told anyone that would listen—journalists, legislators, and the general public—that the women were illegally moving suitcases of fake ballots. That allegation has since been thoroughly disproven by federal investigators and Georgia’s state elections officials—who are Trump-supporting Republicans, no less.

Giuliani, who played a central role in the Republican attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election as Trump’s lawyer, refused to tell congressional investigators about their conversations, citing attorney-client privilege.

In their Jan. 13 letter, the pair’s attorneys tell Giuliani’s defense lawyer that his objections to the Jan. 6 Committee’s questions about interactions with Trump “were improper,” warning that they intend to bulldoze right over them.

“Mr. Giuliani invoked privilege during January 6 testimony with respect to certain topics we expect to broach during his… deposition,” said the letter, which was written in anticipation of a closed-door questioning session.

Giuliani was deposed on Wednesday inside a midtown Manhattan skyscraper that serves as the headquarters of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, the high-end international law firm representing the women.

Lawyers for Freeman and Moss said they want to know more about Giuliani’s interactions with Trump, as well as his “correspondence” with the Department of Justice regarding Trump’s mission to overturn the 2020 election, conservative state legislators who were coaxed into publicly doubting the ballot results that year, and fake Republican electors who tried to band together as alternate electoral college votes to supplant the real ones that went for Joe Biden.

The lawyers also want to explore Giuliani’s interactions with Sidney Powell, the kooky lawyer who led the conspiracy-laden “Kraken” lawsuits that spread their tentacles across the country in an unhinged attempt to keep Trump in the White House. The legal ploy failed miserably, and Powell was formally sanctioned by a federal judge who called it “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” that “was about undermining the people’s faith in our democracy.”

In the legal world, attorneys are generally granted blanket protections for the interactions they have with clients. In this case, Giuliani is trying to keep private his conversations with his client, Trump, as they discussed the effort to overturn the election results.

Defamation lawyers for Freeman and Moss are trying to ram right past that blockade.

“They’re trying to get to Trump,” said one source, who’s familiar with the matter.

Giuliani’s Texas lawyer, Joseph D. Sibley, did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did Michael J. Gottlieb, a former Obama White House lawyer in Washington who represents the mother and daughter.

 

‘It’s Not a Short List’: Trump Probe Grand Jury to Recommend Slew of Indictments

“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” the forewoman said when asked if they’ll ask for the former president to be charged

A Georgia grand jury investigating whether Donald Trump and some of his prominent allies meddled in the state’s 2020 presidential election will recommend a series of indictments on various charges, according to a report from The New York Times. “It’s not a short list,” jury forewoman Emily Kohrs said of the list of indictment recommendations, which remains sealed.“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” Kohrs added when asked if the jury would be recommending an indictment against Trump. The names and specific charges being recommended by the grand jury have yet to be made public, but Kohrs indicated to the Times that “if the judge releases the recommendations, it is not going to be some giant plot twist.”The grand jury previously indicated that it suspected several witnesses of having committed perjury throughout the course of their investigation. Since Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis convened the grand jury last year, it has subpoenaed several Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. [Boldface added]

The grand jury also subpoenaed the “fake electors” who participated in the scheme to overturn the election results. Willis informed all 16 of them last year that they are also targets in the investigation. Trump is also a target The former president pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary to flip the state to him. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said just days before the election was certified.

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of Kohrs comment that onlookers won’t be shocked by the grand jury’s decision about whether to recommend Trump be indicted, but there certainly seems to be plenty of evidence that he played a role in the effort to overturn the state’s election results.

The grand jury’s recommendations are only that, however. It does not possess the power to directly indict individuals. Willis will make the final determination about whom to charge.

 

Georgia Grand Jury Recommends Indictments for Witnesses In Trump Election Case

The report doesn’t say whether Trump himself should be indicted for interfering in the 2020 election, but jurors said witnesses who lied about what happened should be prosecuted.

Cyber Ninjas’ ties to Trump during Arizona election ‘audit’ revealed in messages

Ryan RandazzoRobert Anglen

Arizona Republic

and

PublishedJan. 26, 2023; Updated Jan. 26, 2023
Former President Donald Trump publicly kept his distance from the review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election. But inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, his influence loomed over critical aspects of the “audit,” according to messages sent and received by the man leading the ballot recount.
New records show Trump received direct updates from people at the coliseum, his allies pressured the lead contractor on when to report findings, and that contractor asked people close to the former president if he could help pay for it. This all happened as leaders of the state Senate publicly denied Trump had any involvement in their effort.
While messages from those working on the audit indicate they intentionally kept the president at arm’s length to avoid the appearance of his influence, behind the scenes they sought Trump’s approval — and money.
In April 2021, four days before the election review began, Cyber Ninjas founder Doug Logan used a private messaging system to discuss taking a donation from Trump and his team surreptitiously.
“I told them there was no way I could take funds directly,” he said in the chat.
Once the audit concluded and the now-defunct Cyber Ninjas was millions of dollars in debt, Logan would lament that Trump never did directly fund his work.
“It’s my understanding that our underfunded status is known all the way up to 45,” Logan wrote to a subcontractor in a conversation about how to pay everyone. “Never talked with him, but I’ve been told the message has been received.”
Logan has released tens of thousands of personal messages he sent to supporters and subcontractors involved in the audit in response to ongoing lawsuits from The Arizona Republic and a left-leaning watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., called American Oversight.
The messages reveal for the first time how Logan worked with Trump allies to help finance the work, shape media coverage and manage day-to-day operations as teams worked to hand count 2.1 million ballots cast by county voters.
Logan for months fought the release of his personal messages, which The Republic first sought through state Public Records Law. But after a $50,000-a-day sanction for noncompliance and exhausting all appeals, Logan’s lawyer has turned over many — but not all — text and Signal messages Logan sent and received while working on the audit.
Logan on Tuesday declined to comment on the pleas for money he made through extensive communication with Christina Bobb, a former Trump lawyer and conservative broadcaster who served as a go-between for the former president.
Arizona Senate Republicans hired Cyber Ninjas to recount and inspect ballots, and the so-called “audit” confirmed President Joe Biden’s win in the state and made no concrete findings of wrongdoing by election officials. But for months it served as a marketing tool for politicians who campaigned on unproven accusations that the election was compromised.
Senate Republicans said from the outset that Trump did not push for the audit and did not provide any assistance for it, financial or otherwise.
Former Senate President Karen Fann, a Prescott Republican who hired Cyber Ninjas, repeatedly said the effort was not done to put Trump back in the White House.
“This absolutely has nothing to do with Trump,” Fann wrote in an email to a constituent days after the audit began in 2021. “The election cannot be overturned. This audit is ONLY about election integrity, answering their questions, and hopefully proving there was nothing wrong with the election.”
She reacted with surprise Jan. 19 to the newly released messages when contacted about them by a reporter. When the audit began, she said, she did not know the extent to which Trump allies were involved.
“I did not know,” she said. “Since then I have now connected the dots. … Obviously, in the subsequent months, it was very apparent.”

Trump was watching, chatting with broadcaster

Several references in Logan’s messages indicate people in Trump’s circle were closely watching Maricopa County and reporting back to the former president, who they sometimes referred to as “45.” Trump was the nation’s 45th president.
Logan in the messages discussed Trump’s interest in the work with Bobb, who was given broad access to the election review while working as a personality for the right-wing OAN Network.
Bobb worked in the Trump administration as an appointee in the Department of Homeland Security. She left in early 2020 to join OAN. But after Trump lost the 2020 election, Bobb volunteered to help his legal team challenge the results and was with his team until the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to her testimony to the congressional committee that investigated the attack.
Shortly after Trump’s loss, she helped coordinate a meeting in Arizona at which Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested the election was compromised.
Bobb continued to work as a personality for OAN and began covering the Arizona audit, where she messaged frequently with Logan. She also helped raise money for the audit through her connections to Trump and his organization.
Other media were restricted to a small press box in Veterans Memorial Coliseum — when they could get into the building at all.
Bobb at one point told Logan she would ask the Trump organization for recommendations for a lawyer to help with the audit because Logan didn’t like the lawyer recommended to him at the time.
On June 19, 2021, Logan asked Bobb if Trump would pressure Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward to donate some of the money she was raising off the audit to the actual work, which he said she had not done. Bobb said Trump liked Ward because she was an “outspoken media personality” and was unlikely to push her to fund the audit.
In this series of messages, Doug Logan talks about audit funding with Christina Bobb. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits.

In this series of messages, Doug Logan talks about audit funding with Christina Bobb. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan followed up, asking if Trump could press people to donate to the nonprofits set up to fund the audit.
“I will ask him. He shies away from publicly supporting the audit. I will raise the money issue with him next time we talk,” Bobb responded.
Then on June 25, Bobb discussed funding with Logan, telling him that a wire would come from “Sidney” from Defending the Republic. Trump lawyer Sidney Powell raised money after his loss through a nonprofit by that name.
“I reached out to her and she didn’t take my call. I’ll try again. If she doesn’t answer, I’ll have Trump call,” Bobb wrote to Logan.
Months later, Logan would report that Powell’s group donated $550,000 to his work.
Bobb said in a recent interview with The Republic that she didn’t officially join the Trump team until April 2022. But she did communicate with Trump about the audit.
“I knew that he was very interested in the audit,” she said. “I was never officially communicating anything on behalf of anybody.”
Often, Trump just wanted more detail than what she had shared in her news stories, Bobb said.
She said she never received funding for the audit from Trump or any organization affiliated with him.
“He was not involved in funding. I did ask. It was a no,” she said.

Messages sought updates on counting, funding

In May 2021, as the work passed the one-month mark, Logan messaged with a man named Patrick Weaver who worked on the audit. Weaver was affiliated with The America Project, one of the groups that funded Logan’s work beyond the $150,000 paid by the state.
“Any total count numbers you can give me for Abby to give to Trump?” Weaver wrote to Logan on May 25, 2021. The identity of “Abby” is unclear.
In this message, Patrick Weaver asks Doug Logan for an audit update to provide Donald Trump. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits.

In this message, Patrick Weaver asks Doug Logan for an audit update to provide Donald Trump. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan responded with an update on the counting.
In July, Logan messaged with Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel who worked with President Trump’s chief of staff after his 2020 defeat to concoct ways Trump might stay in office.Waldron said Trump had planned to send $1 million to the audit, but Logan said he had not received it.“Payment – 1 mil – supposedly Kurt talked to trump and they got 1 mil for you,” Waldron wrote to Logan. The identity of “Kurt” is unclear.

Fann unaware of some connections to Trump

Fann acknowledged that Bobb and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani “called several times” before the audit began as part of an effort to call the election into question. But said she did not “know anything else that was going on in the background” of the ballot count.
Arizona needed the audit to assure voters there was no chicanery in the numbers, Fann said.
“My job was to make sure we had an honest election in Arizona,” she said.
She confirmed Trump called her “a couple of times” to discuss the audit as it unfolded. She said she didn’t recall him trying to exert influence over the process, but rather he asked about it.
“He told me, ‘Thank you for doing this,'” she said.
Even as Bobb reported on and raised funds for the election review — and her network was selected to livestream camera footage from the coliseum — Fann said she believed Bobb was acting only in her capacity as a news host, not a Trump surrogate.

‘Is God really going to come through?’

Logan’s lawyer has redacted several messages between him and Bobb sent during this time, despite clear orders from Arizona courts to turn over everything. Still, some of the unredacted messages show Bobb held out her connection to Trump as a way to influence Logan, who was desperate for money.
“Is God really going to come through in funding this thing?” Logan wrote to Bobb on June 26, 2021.
She replied: “I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I know in the end we win. I don’t know how we get there. But yes, in the end it will all workout.”
Logan told her that day he needed about $4.8 million more to complete the audit.
“I’ll raise with 45 again next time we talk,” Bobb replied.
The next day, Bobb messaged Logan asking if the Senate would issue a news release with his preliminary findings. Contractors had finished counting and inspecting ballots at the coliseum a few days before. It would be months before Logan made a final report.
“I’m getting a lot of concerned people calling me saying the audit will lose credibility if there isn’t some type of announcement tomorrow,” she wrote.
In this text message, Christina Bobb asks Doug Logan about a potential announcement about the audit.

In this text message, Christina Bobb asks Doug Logan about a potential announcement about the audit. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan didn’t want to issue preliminary findings. He pushed back.
“That wouldn’t be the case if there wasn’t so much fake news that a number was expected tomorrow,” he told the reporter.
Bobb lashed out.
“I strongly suggest you don’t blame me for fake news,” Bobb wrote. “I STRONGLY suggest that.”
Bobb didn’t pretend to be an independent observer about the ballot review.
“Remember we’re on the same side,” she wrote to Logan. “If you want to fight me, we both will lose.”
Bobb said in an interview Jan. 19 she was pressuring Logan as a reporter, not on behalf of Trump.
“They needed to release the numbers. I remember that,” Bobb said. “I was holding him to the same standard that I was holding the election officials. Why don’t we have a result on election night? My personal opinion is when you are done counting, if you don’t release the numbers that looks sketchy. I’m not accusing anybody of doing anything wrong, but it raises a lot of questions.”
Asked whether she thought Logan did a good job on his final report, she said, “I don’t have a comment on that. I like Doug Logan. I think he’s great.”

 

Trump campaign officials got subpoena asking new questions about Jan. 6

DOJ subpoena seeks information and documents on legal representation, voting machines, fundraising around false election claims and more

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/01/11/trump-subpoena-jan6-campaign-officials/

 

2022:

 

GIULIANI: WHAT HAPPENED TO AMERICA’S MAYOR?

Giuliani: What Happened to America’s Mayor? explores how a storied figure of American politics went from a crime-fighting prosecutor to a key player in President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The four-part series goes behind the headlines to explore his operatic life of victories and defeats.

New CNN series beginning January 9, 2023

Giuliani: What Happened to America’s Mayor?

 

POLITICO Playbook

BY EUGENE DANIELSRACHAEL BADE AND RYAN LIZZA

With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

December 30, 2022

— RUDY GIULIANI said efforts to overturn the election zeroed in on state legislatures out of a sense that the courts would thwart a legal battle from Trump.

Jan. 6 committee refers Trump to Justice Dept. for criminal charges

The decision — an unprecedented move for Congress — came as the panel released a summary of its final report and met publicly for the last time

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/19/trump-referrals-jan-6-committee/

[Excerpt:]

The criminal referrals were a major escalation for a congressional investigation that is the most significant in a generation. The panel named five other Trump allies — Mark Meadows, his final chief of staff, and the lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro — as potential co-conspirators with Mr. Trump in actions the committee said warranted Justice Department investigation. 

 

“Ethics Chair Struggles Over Whether Giuliani Crossed A Line”

Kate Buehler at Law360:

The chairman of a D.C. ethics committee deciding whether Rudy Giuliani violated legal ethics rules by filing a lawsuit aimed at overturning the 2020 presidential election results in Pennsylvania said Thursday he was struggling to determine the point at which zealous advocacy could become frivolous litigation.

Committee Chairman Robert C. Bernius, a Nixon Peabody LLP senior counsel, admitted he was having a hard time walking that thin line as a four-day virtual hearing on Giuliani’s role in helping former President Donald Trump challenge election results came to an end Thursday. The committee is expected to issue a ruling next week.

Giuliani engaged local counsel and a team of investigators in Pennsylvania and elsewhere before launching the federal lawsuit challenging the election results, which, Bernius said, probably represents more diligence than the ordinary lawyer would have undertaken before filing a complaint.

“I’m trying to distinguish this case from any other case where a lawyer brings a claim, and it’s tossed under a motion to dismiss,” he said. “How do you identify one as improper and one as perfectly appropriate under the zealous representation doctrine?”

Buehler has been following the hearings closely, including pieces “DC Panel Questions Giuliani’s Thinking Behind Pa. Voter Suit” and “Giuliani Wrangled ‘Chaotic’ Trump Campaign HQ, Staffers Say.” The Washington Post also has some coverage.

 

Giuliani Faces Disbarment In State Hearing Underway This Week—Sidney Powell, Lin Wood And Other 2020 Election Attorneys Could Be Next

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2022/12/07/giuliani-faces-disbarment-in-state-hearing-underway-this-week-sidney-powell-lin-wood-and-other-2020-election-attorneys-could-be-next/?sh=744f3c664b17

A disciplinary hearing against Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is taking place this week, as the lawyer faces the prospect of being disbarred for bringing litigation trying to overturn the 2020 election—and other attorneys are likely to follow, as more bar complaints and investigations remain ongoing against major 2020 election attorneys like Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and John Eastman.

KEY FACTS

Rudy Giuliani: Giuliani is now facing a hearing by the D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel—which is part of a multi-step process and will not immediately result in consequences—after a D.C. court and a New York court have already temporarily suspended his law license in both those jurisdictions.

Sidney Powell: Powell, who brought lawsuits in four battleground states alleging election fraud, will go to trial on April 24, 2023, in litigation brought against her by the Commission for Lawyer Discipline at the Texas State Bar, court documents show, which could result in her being disbarred or otherwise punished for professional misconduct.

Lin Wood: Wood, who brought litigation challenging Georgia’s election and also participated in some of Powell’s lawsuits, is under investigation by the State Bar of Georgia, which the bar confirmed to Forbes Tuesday is still pending after its disciplinary board shot down Wood’s attempt to dismiss the complaint against him in August, but no hearing date has yet been set.

John Eastman:Eastman aided former President Donald Trump’s efforts to stop Congress from certifying the election on January 6, prompting an ethics investigation by the State Bar of California, which the bar confirmed to Forbes is still underway after being publicly announced in March.

Ken Paxton: The Texas attorney general was sued by the state bar’s disciplinary counsel in May over the lawsuit he filed at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the election—causing him to retaliate against the bar as a result—and that lawsuit remains pending, though a separate complaint against his deputy attorney general was dismissed in September.

Jeffrey Clark: The former DOJ official, who aided Trump’s attempts to overturn the election from within the agency, faces a pending complaint from the D.C. Bar that was brought against him in July, and Clark asked a federal court to block the complaint in October, arguing the D.C. Bar doesn’t have jurisdiction to bring the complaint.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Giuliani’s hearing that’s now ongoing is scheduled to wrap up by the end of next week, at which point the hearing committee at the D.C. Bar’s Board on Professional Responsibility will issue a non-binding recommendation on what punishment Giuliani should face. The case will go on to ultimately be decided by the D.C. Court of Appeals, a process that the Washington Post notes could still take months to go through. Under the bar’s rules for disciplinary action, Giuliani could face a range of punishments, from being permanently disbarred to just being formally censured or reprimanded or being put on probation. His law license in Washington, D.C., is still suspended, the D.C. Bar’s database shows, but that suspension is only temporary, so the D.C. Bar’s disciplinary process will determine whether Giuliani could have his license revoked permanently or if he could be allowed to practice law again.

CHIEF CRITIC

Giuliani has continued to defend his actions as a lawyer in testimony over the first two days of his hearing against him and decried the attempt to punish him for his post-election litigation. “I am shocked and offended this is happening to me,” Giuliani said on Tuesday. Other post-election lawyers have similarly remained defiant despite the action being taken against them, with Powell telling Forbes in June that the action being taken against her by the Texas State Bar “should concern every practicing lawyer because now any lawyer can be subjected to the extraordinary harassment and expense of lawfare directed specifically at his or her law license whenever the other side disagrees with a filing.”

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

Which other 2020 election attorneys will face investigations and disciplinary proceedings. Activist group The 65 Project, which is dedicated to taking action against lawyers who helped efforts to overturn the election, is targeting 111 lawyers in 26 states, and has filed ethics complaints with state bars in an effort to have the attorneys punished. Those complaints have been filed as recently as October, so it may take months before they result in public reports of any concrete action. Among those who have had complaints brought against them—but have not yet been announced as being actively under investigation or sued by disciplinary committees—are Trump campaign attorney Jenna EllisCleta Mitchell, who participated in Trump’s call asking Georgia officials to “find” enough votes to overturn the election; Boris Epshteyn, who continues to advise Trump on legal issues; and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who pushed Trump’s false claims of election fraud and offered to represent the Trump campaign in post-election cases at the Supreme Court.

KEY BACKGROUND

Giuliani and many of the other right-wing attorneys now facing consequences were behind more than 60 lawsuits in the aftermath of the 2020 election that broadly challenged results in battleground states, which were nearly all unsuccessful except for one minor lawsuit in Pennsylvania. The disciplinary actions being brought by state bars are part of a broader range of consequences those attorneys have faced for their actions in the two years since the election, which have so far also included lawyers such as Powell and Wood being sanctioned in federal court in Michigan and a series of defamation lawsuits brought by voting machine companies that Powell and her allies accused of fraud. The ethics complaint against Giuliani, which was brought by the bar after his D.C. license had already been suspended, was largely focused on the lawsuit the Trump campaign brought in Pennsylvania challenging its results, with Giuliani representing the campaign. That litigation failed in court multiple times, with a district judge declaring the campaign’s legal argument was “not how the Constitution works.”

FURTHER READING

Giuliani ‘weaponized’ law license in Trump election suit, D.C. Bar argues (Washington Post)

Rudy Giuliani Defends Failed Trump 2020 Election Challenge in DC Ethics Case (Bloomberg)

Sidney Powell Could Still Be Disbarred As Court Lets Case Against Her Move Forward (Forbes)

Campaign Targets 111 Trump-Linked Election Lawyers. Here’s Some Already Facing A Backlash. (Forbes)

With Giuliani’s Law License Suspended, Here Are The Other Trump Lawyers Who May Face Discipline Next (Forbes)

 

Giuliani names Trump election deniers as witnesses in legal ethics case

Doug Mastriano, Jenna Ellis and Peter Navarro among those named in case related to attempt to overturn Pennsylvania result

Facing a Washington DC legal ethics prosecution over his role in Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has turned to a cast of characters from that failed effort.

A witness list filed by lawyers for Giuliani on Friday included Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania; the former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis; and Christina Bobb, an attorney currently caught up in Trump’s fight with the US Department of Justice over the retention of classified records.

Also among those named were the former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi; Peter Navarro, a former Trump trade adviser charged with contempt of Congress in the January 6 investigation; former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski; and Bernard Kerik, a former New York police commissioner who Trump pardoned of felonies that sent him to jail.

Phil Waldron, a former army colonel turned Texas bar owner who pushed baseless electoral fraud claims, was also on the witness list.

Giuliani is accused of mounting a frivolous election challenge in Pennsylvania – one of four states, with Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, on which the attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election victory focused and which Trump this week named in an intemperate response to a subpoena from the House January 6 committee.

The DC office of disciplinary counsel intends to call Giuliani as a witness. The former mayor appears on his own list too.

Giuliani has said he had a “good faith basis” for contesting mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

But his work as Trump’s personal attorney – for which he has famously struggled to secure payment – landed him in legal jeopardy on a number of fronts.

Giuliani’s role in approaches to Ukraine for political dirt on Trump opponents including Biden landed him in the middle of Trump’s first impeachment.

Trump’s second impeachment, for inciting the Capitol riot on 6 January 2021, was the result of the failure of legal attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

In Georgia, Giuliani has been named as the target of a criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the election result there.

In New York, he has been sued by Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election machinery.

Giuliani is also suspended from practicing law in New York state.

Writing for Slate, the Harvard law professor Laurence H Tribe and Dennis Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor, said Giuliani and the law professor John Eastman were “the two chief ‘generals’ [who] orchestrat[ed] Trump’s abuse of the law to overturn the election”.

The authors added: “In joining the bar, lawyers take an oath to support the US constitution much like the one that Article VI of the constitution requires of all public officials. Lawyers who betrayed that oath in ways that led to the deadly insurrection of January 6 are no better than a physician who violates the Hippocratic Oath to ‘do no harm’.”

The complaint in the DC case says Giuliani violated two Pennsylvania rules that bar attorneys from bringing frivolous proceedings without a basis in law or fact and prohibit conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. The charges can lead to the suspension of a license to practice or disbarment.

The hearing is set for December.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Election Day is Nov. 8, but legal challenges already begin

October 27. 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — Election Day is 12 days away. But in courtrooms across the country, efforts to sow doubt over the outcome have already begun.

More than 100 lawsuits have been filed this year around the Nov. 8 elections. The legal challenges, largely by Republicans, target rules for mail-in voting, early voting, voter access, voting machines, voting registration, the counting of mismarked absentee ballots and access for partisan poll watchers.

The cases likely preview a potentially contentious post-election period and the strategy stems partly from the failure of Donald Trump and his allies to prevail in overturning the free and fair results of the 2020 presidential election that he lost to Joe Biden.

That was an ad hoc response fronted by a collection of increasingly ill-prepared lawyers that included Rudy Giuliani. The current effort, however, is more formalized, well-funded and well-organized and is run by the Republican National Committee and other legal allies with strong credentials. Party officials say they are preparing for recounts, contested elections and more litigation. Thousands of volunteers are ready to challenge ballots and search for evidence of malfeasance.

“We’re now at the point where charges of fraud and suppression are baked into the turnout models for each party,” said Benjamin Ginsberg, co-chair of the Election Official Legal Defense Network and former counsel to the George W. Bush campaign and other Republican candidates. “Republicans charge fraud. Democrats charge suppression. Each side amplifies its position with massive and costly amounts of litigation and messaging.”

The RNC said it has a multimillion-dollar “election integrity” team. It has hired 37 lawyers in key states, held more than 5,000 training sessions to teach volunteers to look for voter fraud — which is rare and isolated — and filed 73 suits in 20 states. Other Trump-allied legal teams, including America First Legal, run by former Trump adviser Stephen Miller, are involved.

“We built an unprecedented election integrity ground game to ensure that November’s midterm elections are free, fair and transparent,” the RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, said last month.

The Democrats’ legal effort focuses on making voting easier and helping those denied a chance to vote. A team led by lawyer Marc Elias and his firm is litigating roughly 40 cases in 19 states, though many are interventions in Republican-led suits.

Elias said he is bracing for a deluge of challenges to election results. Some Republican candidates have already said they will not accept a loss or have planted doubt on the election process despite no evidence of fraud.

“The problem with the Republican Party right now is that conceding you lost an election is the only thing that will hurt you,” Elias said. “Contesting an election that is clearly lost is now where all the incentive structure is, and that is incredibly corrosive for democracy.”

Almost every election begets legal challenges. But the much of that generally comes after Election Day.

In 2020, pro-Trump lawyers filed roughly 60 suits and asked judges to set aside votes. Those suits were roundly rejected. Trump’s own leadership found the election was fair, and state election official saw no widespread evidence of fraud. Biden earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, the same margin as Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, when he called it a “landslide.”

At that time, the Republican establishment had not adopted Trump’s lies about the election. Since then, the falsehoods have taken root within the GOP.

Ginsberg said unsubstantiated charges that elections were fraudulent or rigged or unreliable have became the mantra for a Republican to win a contested 2022 primary in most states.

“That can only harm public faith in elections, something for which Republicans will eventually pay a price,” he said.

For three decades, the RNC was under a consent decree that prohibited it from challenging voters’ qualifications and targeting alleged fraud. That legal agreement, which ended in 2019, arose from a Democratic National Committee suit that argued Republicans sought to dissuade Black Americans from voting by posting armed, off-duty law enforcement officers at certain polling sites and sending targeted mailings warning about penalties for violating election laws.

In 2020, Republican poll watchers, who have no direct role in the elections and cannot interfere in the electoral process apart from watching and reporting issues, were the basis of many of the suits filed by Trump allies. But when pressed by judges for evidence backing partisan claims of suspicious behavior by election workers, the litigation faltered.

Election workers have increasingly been subjected to abuse and threats of violence. Voter intimidation cases are on the rise, and there is growing concern among election officials and law enforcement about overly aggressive poll watchers or people pretending to be poll watchers intimidating voters.

Last week the RNC won a legal challenge against Michigan’s secretary of state, Democrat Jocelyn Benson, over rules about how poll challengers can operate.

“Jocelyn Benson not only disregarded Michigan election law in issuing this guidance, she also violated the rights of political parties and poll challengers to fully ensure transparency and promote confidence that Michigan elections are run fairly and lawfully,” McDaniel said in a statement.

The RNC has won legal challenges in Nevada and Arizona over the appointment of poll workers and in Wisconsin on “ballot curing” — a process whereby voters can fix problems with their ballots so they can be counted — and drop boxes. Litigation in Pennsylvania involved absentee ballots dating and whether outside parties should be allowed examine voting machines.

Democrats-led groups have initiated about 35 suits that focus largely on making voting easier. Just this week, litigation was filed on behalf of Voto Latino and the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans to stop intimidation over using drop boxes in Arizona. The ACLU of Pennsylvania sent a letter to Allegheny County officials on mail-in ballot concerns.

Heading into 2020, the U.S. focused on the possibility of foreign threats, from Russia or possibly China, to the integrity of the election, such as by manipulating vote tabulations. Election officials and Trump’s own agencies said it was the most secure election ever. It was Trump and his supporters who nurtured conspiracy theories about voter fraud.

U.S. officials are again sounding the alarm that Russia is working to amplify doubts over the integrity of the elections.

This week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “No outside cyber activity has ever prevented a registered voter from casting a ballot; compromised the integrity of any ballot cast; or affected the accuracy of voter registration information.”

She said the government would “monitor any threats to our elections if they arise and work as a cohesive, coherent interagency to get relevant information to the election officials and workers on the ground.”

[Boldface added]

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

How to Ensure Accountability for the Legal Foot Soldiers of Jan. 6

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/10/disbar-jan-6-lawyers-kenneth-chesebro-john-eastman-rudy-giuliani.html

Mr. Kirtzman is the author of the forthcoming biography “Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of America’s Mayor.”

[Excerpt:]

The man of law and order, famed for his rectitude as United States attorney for the Southern District of New York in the 1980s, is a subject of investigations in Georgia and Washington, D.C. Both center on deeply cynical actions to upend the 2020 election results. They reveal a corruption of character, triggered by a succession of moral compromises over the years undertaken to maintain the power and money that he’d grown accustomed to after Sept. 11.

Giuliani had ‘no fear gene.’ That led to his predicament.

Fearlessness has a flip side, which is recklessness. It may have consequences for America’s Mayor.

 

Rudolph W. Giuliani, as former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, spearheaded efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/15/us/graham-georgia-investigation-trump

Politicians involved in Donald Trump’s effort to put forth electors to falsely claim he had won Arizona said doing so without first filing a legal challenge could look like a crime.

Two Arizona Republicans recruited by allies of former President Donald J. Trump to join an effort to keep him in office after he lost the 2020 election grew so concerned about the plan that they told lawyers working on it that they feared their actions could be seen as treason, according to emails reviewed by The New York Times.

Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and Kelly Townsend, a state senator, were both said to have expressed concerns to Mr. Trump’s lawyers in December 2020 about participating in a plan to sign on to a slate of electors claiming that Mr. Trump had won Arizona, even though Joseph R. Biden Jr. had won the state.

The scheme was part of a broader bid — one of the longest running and most complicated that Mr. Trump undertook as he sought to cling to power after losing the 2020 presidential election — to falsely manufacture a victory for him by creating fake slates of electors in battleground states who would claim that he had been the true winner.

Some of the lawyers who undertook the effort doubted its legality, and the emails, which have not been previously reported, were the latest indication that other key players also knew they were on shaky legal ground, and took pains to create a rationale that could justify their actions.

Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer working for Mr. Trump’s campaign, wrote in a Dec. 11, 2020, email to other members of the legal team that Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend had raised concerns about casting votes as part of an alternate slate of electors because there was no pending legal challenge that could flip the results of Arizona’s election.

“Ward and Townsend are concerned it could appear treasonousfor the AZ electors to vote on Monday if there is no pending court proceeding that might, eventually, lead to the electors being ratified as the legitimate ones,” Mr. Chesebro wrote to the group, which included Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.

Mr. Chesebro wrote the word “treasonous” in bold.

Image

The use of the word underscored how well aware at least some of Mr. Trump’s allies were that they were undertaking truly extraordinary steps to keep him in office, so much so that they risked being seen as betraying their country.

Ms. Ward, who pushed for the electors plan to be kept secret, ultimately joined the effort and signed a document that purported to be a “certificate of the votes of the 2020 electors from Arizona” and claimed that Mr. Trump had won the state’s 11 Electoral College votes.

One person working on the plan, the Arizona-based lawyer Jack Wilenchik, conceded in emails that the Electoral College votes the campaign was working to organize “aren’t legal under federal law” and repeatedly referred to them as “fake,” The Times has reported.

In a later email, Mr. Wilenchik said that the rush to file the papers with the Supreme Court was “to give legal ‘cover’ for the electors in AZ to ‘vote’” on Dec. 14, 2020, the day the Electoral College was slated to gather and cast votes.

Ms. Townsend did not serve as one of the electors for Mr. Trump, but pushed his claims of a stolen election.

Both Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend have since received subpoenas from the Justice Department asking questions about the fake electors plan and demanding documents detailing communications with Mr. Trump’s legal team.

The department has widened its investigation into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, including issuing a subpoena for Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel to Mr. Trump who pushed back on some of his most extreme efforts to overturn the election, according to a person familiar with the subpoena.

Ms. Ward, Ms. Townsend, Mr. Wilenchik and Mr. Chesebro did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The push to organize slates of false electors involved hands-on work by Mr. Giuliani, who the emails indicate spoke with Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend as the Trump campaign was apparently urging the electors to vote on Dec. 14.

Mr. Chesebro sought assurances from Mr. Wilenchik that he would quickly file papers to the U.S. Supreme Court contesting a ruling by Arizona’s Supreme Court affirming Mr. Biden’s win in the state.

“Reason is that Kelli Ward & Kelly Townsend just spoke to the mayor about the campaign’s request that all electors vote Monday in all contested states,” Mr. Chesebro wrote to Mr. Wilenchik, apparently referring to a conversation with Mr. Giuliani.

He said that the concern from Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend was that activating an alternate group of electors in favor of Mr. Trump “could appear treasonous” in the absence of a pending lawsuit. “Which is a valid point — in the Hawaii 1960 incident, when the Kennedy electors voted, there was a pending recount,” Mr. Chesebro added.

He was referring to an instance that he and others were using as a foundation for their argument that they could put forward fake slates of electors. In 1960, the result of the election in Hawaii was unsettled as the Electoral College was close to meeting. The governor certified a slate of electors in favor of Richard M. Nixon, who claimed he had won as the recount continued. John F. Kennedy also formed a slate of electors.

When the vote count was finished, Mr. Kennedy had won, and his slate of electors ultimately was certified.

However, little about the 1960 incident resembled what happened in 2020. By the time the Electoral College met on Dec. 14, 2020, the votes had all been counted, Mr. Biden had been declared the winner and various courts had tossed challenges filed by Mr. Trump’s allies.

In a follow-up email, Mr. Chesebro wrote that he no longer saw “cause for concern” because a legal action some of the group planned to file was “at the printer” and that the Supreme Court considers an action docketed whenever it is mailed. He wrote that it would be in the mail by the time the Electoral College met.

Mr. Wilenchik filed the petition the same day, records show. (The Supreme Court denied the petition in February 2021. )

In the weeks after the election, Mr. Chesebro wrote a series of memos outlining a plan to send so-called alternate electors to Congress for the certification. A little more than two weeks after Election Day, Mr. Chesebro sent a memo to James Troupis, another lawyer for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, laying out a plan to name pro-Trump electors in that state, which was also won by Mr. Biden.

Mr. Chesebro also sent a Dec. 13, 2020, email to Mr. Giuliani that encouraged Vice President Mike Pence to “firmly take the position that he, and he alone, is charged with the constitutional responsibility not just to open the votes, but to count them — including making judgments about what to do if there are conflicting votes.”

That idea became the basis for Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign against Mr. Pence in which the president attempted to convince his own vice president that he could block or delay the congressional certification of Mr. Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021.

Mr. Chesebro also was involved in a Dec. 24, 2020, email exchange with John C. Eastman, the pro-Trump lawyer, over whether to file legal papers that they hoped might prompt four justices to agree to hear an election case from Wisconsin.

In those emails, Mr. Chesebro argued that the “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”

Their exchange took place five days after Mr. Trump issued a call for his supporters to attend a protest at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress would certify the electoral vote count confirming Mr. Biden’s victory. “Be there. Will be wild!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.

 

Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, John Eastman and several others in the former president’s orbit were subpoenaed in the election meddling inquiry.

[Excerpts:]

Seven advisers and allies of Donald J. Trump, including Rudolph W. Giuliani and Senator Lindsey Graham, were subpoenaed on Tuesday in the ongoing criminal investigation in Georgia of election interference by Mr. Trump and his associates. The move was the latest sign that the inquiry has entangled a number of prominent members of Mr. Trump’s orbit, and may cloud the future for the former president.

The subpoenas underscore the breadth of the investigation by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, which encompasses most of Atlanta. She is weighing a range of charges, according to legal filings, including racketeering and conspiracy, and her inquiry has encompassed witnesses from beyond the state. The latest round of subpoenas was reported earlier by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Fulton County investigation is one of several inquiries into efforts by Mr. Trump and his team to overturn the election, but it is the one that appears to put them in the greatest immediate legal jeopardy. A House committee continues to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. And there is an intensifyinginvestigation by the Justice Department into a scheme to create slates of fake presidential electors in 2020.

 

Despite rebukes, Trump’s legal brigade is thriving

Their claims were dismissed as baseless, but many attorneys have never faced discipline and have found new business as go-to MAGA lawyers.

Juli Haller was part of Donald Trump’s legal brigade in Michigan, filing a lawsuit alongside the ubiquitous Sidney Powell that claimed absentee vote counts were likely manipulated by a computer algorithm developed by allies of deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez.

The lawsuit was quickly deemed baseless, and she was among nine attorneys ordered by a federal judge to pay the city of Detroit and state of Michigan’s legal fees and referred for possible disbarment. In a blistering rebuke, Judge Linda V. Parker called it a “historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”

But unlike Rudy Giuliani, whose law license was suspended in New York and Washington, D.C., for championing similar cases, or Haller’s own co-counsel, Powell, whose law license is at risk in Texas, Haller is going strong. She has gained a robust client roster that includes two alleged members of the far-right vigilante group the Oath Keepers who are accused of fueling the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Haller’s trajectory — from rebuked purveyor of baseless claims to a go-to attorney for MAGA extremists — infuriates many liberal activists, including some groups who are targeting the lawyers for discipline,and alarms some nonpartisan specialists in legal ethics. They say those who helpedlegitimize the former president’s lies should not be allowed to use it as a foundation to build their legal practices, lest it serve as an incentive to profit from ever more outlandish claims that shake the confidence of Americans in the integrity of U.S. elections and endanger democracy.

In total, at least 16 lawyers who represented plaintiffs in five federal lawsuits promoting Trump’s baseless election fraud claims in the key battlegrounds of Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona remain in good standing or have no record of disciplinary action with their respective bar associations or licensing authorities, according to a POLITICO review.

Fourteen of them have since engaged in additional work in support of the election fraud conspiracies or conspiracists behind Trump’s attempt to remain in power despite losing the election to President Joe Biden. These include defending accused Jan. 6rioters,consulting for partisan election “audits” or partaking in advocacy or legal cases sowing doubts about the integrity of the nation’s elections, POLITICO found.

Powell and Giuliani are the most well-known national legal voices who promoted conspiracies fueling the violent attack on the Capitol. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.

Powell, in November of 2020, said she would “release the Kraken” by providing evidence of widespread voting fraud proving Trump won the election. In fact, all of the suits were dismissed within days by judges appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents. But in the process, Giuliani and Powell brought together a pool of attorneys who were willing to push Trump’s lies into court.

Now, however, many legal experts consider this network of attorneys a risk to future orderly elections administration and argue monetary penalties are an insufficient deterrent, simply because the lawyers involved can easily raise funds from disgruntled Trump supporters who may believe and are eager to spread the election lies.

“These lawyers have to be stopped from practicing law. It’s that simple,” asserts David Fink, an attorney leading the charge to disbar the attorneys in Michigan, including Haller. “They disregarded their oath, they told lies to the court and they spreadthe ‘Big Lie,’” said Fink.

In arguing that monetary fines are not sufficient deterrent, Fink cited a report that Powell raised $14 million by spreading baseless claims about election fraud, including through the lawsuits.

Fink is aligned with The 65 Project, a new bipartisan group spending millions to try to disbar 100 lawyers who worked on Trump’s post-election lawsuits. Its initial round of ethics complaints targeted top names on Trump’s team, filed with their respective state bars in March. The group is now gearing up to file a wave of complaints against lesser-known attorneys who filed legal cases on baseless evidence, Michael Teter, the group’s director, confirmed.

It’s unclear how many state bar associations are pursuing any kind of disciplinary action, or whether they have rejected complaints, because most require that investigations remain confidential. Most states that do provide disciplinary records online only post the final opinions or orders.

POLITICO contacted bar associations or regulatory boards responsible for disciplinary actions in Washington, D.C., Michigan and Wisconsin, where a number of the lawyers are registered. They all declined to comment, citing confidentiality rules.

In addition to being one of nine attorneys who represented plaintiffs in the Michigan case, Haller was involved in four similar cases dismissed in other states, including as a “lead” attorney in Arizona, according to the court docket. Similar to the Michigan case, the Arizona suit raised questions about ballot tampering and hacked voting machines, including a statement attributed to an alleged former military intelligence expert only identified as Spider. A judge dismissed it without a hearing, stating plaintiffs were “sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence.”

In an appellate brief filed last February in Michigan, the attorneys involved in that case stated they are targets of a partisan smear campaign.

“A Democrat Governor, a Democrat Secretary of State, and a Democrat Attorney General have joined a Democrat-appointed, Democrats-confirmed judge to ask a disciplinary body appointed and superintended by a Democrat-controlled state entity to kill the careers of Republican lawyers for advancing what is a mainstream Republican position on the 2020 Presidential Election.”

Although judges reviewed written claims and documentation before dismissing her cases, Haller argues her team never got to make its case before the judge in Arizona, similar to what happened in other cases.

“There were no evidentiary hearings held, and an old expression, ‘Absence of Justice leads to Strife’ comes to mind; just ask the George Floyd protesters about that. I personally had nothing to do with Jan. 6,” she said in response to emailed questions from POLITICO.

In next-door Wisconsin, Michael Deanwas the lead attorney for plaintiffs in a Wisconsin case alleging fraud via “ballot-stuffing.” Dean’s team sought to decertify election results, declare Trump the winner and impound Dominion voting machines.

In dismissing the case, Judge Pamela Pepper stated: “Federal judges do not appoint the president in this country. One wonders why the plaintiffs came to federal court and asked a federal judge to do so.” Dean has been representing former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is conducting a partisan audit of Wisconsin’s 2020 election results and has called for decertifying the state’s Electoral College votes after accusing Democratic leaders of large cities of fraud.

Such audits are a way of continuing the fight over 2020, even after courts have dismissed the cases. They have emerged as another source of work for pro-Trump attorneys.

Dean did not respond to a request for comment.

David Levine, a former Boise, Idaho, elections director, is among those in support of harsher punishment for lawyers who continue to fan the flames of election controversies long after they’ve been discredited. Levine is now a fellow for election integrity at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, part of the German Marshall Fund, a nonpartisan policy organization.

“If these folks aren’t held accountable, they’ll feel emboldened to continue to engage in actions that not only erode trust in the legal profession and integrity of elections but endanger lives of the American people,” he said.

“We saw in 2020 how false election information could not only fuel an insurrection but cause bodily harm and loss of lives,” said Levine. “After Watergate, we saw the legal profession be at the forefront of ethics reform. It’s dramatically different from what we’re seeing here,” he said.

‘Claims not backed by law’

U.S. lawyers have substantial leeway in filing court cases and in what they say outside the courtroom. Still, state bar associations generally try to self-police the legal profession according to a common set of rules that prohibit attorneys from bringing cases unless “there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous,” as the American Bar Association states.

In New York, a state appeals court suspended Giuliani’s license for making “demonstrably false and misleading” statements about widespread voter fraud.

And in Michigan, Rules of Professional Conduct stipulate that a lawyer may not knowingly “make a false statement of material fact or law” or “fail to correct” such a statement.

According to a pending complaint filed by a coalition of several Michigan lawyers with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, the team in the case involving Haller not only made numerous false assertions but “notably failed to disclose to the court that their false factual claims had been dismissed in state courts” prior to filing the suit. According to that complaint, when presented with an opportunity to defend their claims, the attorneys “voluntarily” dismissed the case rather than offer a “factual defense.”

In her sanctions order statement, Parker, the judge, stated: “While individuals may have a right ‘within certain bounds’ to make baseless allegations of fraud in the public, attorneys cannot ‘exploit their privilege and access to the judicial process to do the same.’” Parker continued: “The attorneys abused the well-established rules applicable to the litigation process by proffering claims not backed by law; proffering claims not backed by evidence.”

‘The mind of the lawyer’

Legal experts say the key to disciplining lawyers for frivolous cases is determining whether they knew the facts and arguments on which they were bringing their cases were false.

Ben Ginsberg, among the nation’s most prominent conservative election lawyers, said, “You have to get into the mind of the lawyer and whether they thought and they had reasonable evidence to believe the charges they brought had some shred of credibility to them.”

Barry Richard, who represented former President George W. Bush in litigating the disputed2000 election in Florida, agreed it would likely have to be proven the attorneys knowingly submitted false complaints in order to take more significant action such as the revoking of law licenses.

Yet, while state bar association rules differ, “anybody who took the position, with no basis, that there was fraud committed has violated a bar rule — no matter what state it is — and is subject to discipline,” said Richard.

Members on the bipartisan House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection have repeatedly warned that challenges to the nation’s system of nonpartisan election administration remain a significant threat.

That’s because, regardless of the ultimate penalties, if any, for Trump and his inner circle, his successful campaign to sow doubts about the security of U.S. elections has inspired GOP candidates across the nation to run on similar platforms. In two out of three governor and secretary of state contests, there is an “election denier” running, according to States United Democracy Center, a nonpartisan organization that promotes secure elections.

Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, argued that it’s important to take action against attorneys fanning the flames of election conspiracies before they can rely on officeholders to support the false claims.

Should various election deniers prevail in their campaigns, Burden said, “if a lawsuit is brought, as frivolous as it might be, [the pro-Trump lawyers] may have an ally in office who may be willing to testify in favor” of it or advance it in multiple ways, he said.

“It is alarming that that network of election deniers remains active,” said Burden.

Unrepentant

Many of Powell’s co-lawyers remain actively promoting conspiracies around 2020.

Stefanie Junttila, who’s also gone by Stefanie Lambert, officially appeared as an attorney of record on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Michigan case. Despite the sanctions order, Junttila continues to post on her Telegram channel what she calls “evidence” of election fraud in 2020 and is representing Sheriff Dar Leaf, who is suing Michigan’s attorney general and secretary of state for obstructing his own self-proclaimed investigation into voter fraud. In 2020, Leaf attended a rally related to COVID restrictions alongside a militia member later accused of plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

As recently as mid-April, Junttila shared on social media a video of her appearance on the Stew Peters Show, in which she claims to have evidence of fraud committed in Delaware County, Penn., by union-aligned elections officials. And on May 5, Junttila filed a brief appealing her sanctions, insisting there “remain significant, legitimate concerns” with the election, which had ”significant irregularities.” Juntilla did not respond to a request for comment.

For her part, Powell, too, has been unrepentant.

In a July 2021 hearing before Parker, Powell stated: “We would file the same complaints again. We welcome an opportunity to actually prove our case.”

 

In recent subpoenas, federal prosecutors investigating alternate slates of pro-Trump electors sought information about Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Eastman and others.

The Justice Department has stepped up its criminal investigation into the creation of alternate slates of pro-Trump electors seeking to overturn Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the 2020 election, with a particular focus on a team of lawyers that worked on behalf of President Donald J. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

A federal grand jury in Washington has started issuing subpoenas in recent weeks to people linked to the alternate elector plan, requesting information about several lawyers including Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and one of his chief legal advisers, John Eastman, one of the people said.

The subpoenas also seek information on other pro-Trump lawyers like Jenna Ellis, who worked with Mr. Giuliani, and Kenneth Chesebro, who wrote memos supporting the elector scheme in the weeks after the election.

A top Justice Department official acknowledged in January that prosecutors were trying to determine whether any crimes were committed in the scheme.

Under the plan, election officials in seven key swing states put forward formal lists of pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College on the grounds that the states would be shown to have swung in favor of Mr. Trump once their claims of widespread election fraud had been accepted. Those claims were baseless, and all seven states were awarded to Mr. Biden.

It is a federal crime to knowingly submit false statements to a federal agency or agent for an undue end. The alternate elector slates were filed with a handful of government bodies, including the National Archives.

The focus on the alternate electors is only one of the efforts by the Justice Department to broaden its vast investigation of hundreds of rioters who broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In the past few months, grand jury subpoenas have also been issued seeking information about a wide array of people who organized Mr. Trump’s rally near the White House that day, and about any members of the executive and legislative branches who may have taken part in planning the event or tried to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election.

The widening and intensifying Justice Department inquiry also comes as the House select committee investigating the efforts to overturn the election and the Jan. 6 assault prepares for public hearings next month.

The subpoenas in the elector investigation are the first public indications that the roles of Mr. Giuliani and other lawyers working on Mr. Trump’s behalf are of interest to federal prosecutors.

After Election Day, Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Ellis appeared in front of a handful of legislatures in contested swing states, laying out what they claimed was evidence of fraud and telling lawmakers that they had the power to pick their own electors to the Electoral College.

Mr. Eastman was an architect of a related plan to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to use the alternate electors in a bid to block or delay congressional certification of Mr. Biden’s victory.

Examining the lawyers who worked with Mr. Trump after the election edges prosecutors close to the former president. But there is no guarantee that an investigation of the lawyers working on the alternate elector plan would lead prosecutors to discover any evidence that Mr. Trump broke the law.

The plot to use alternate electors was one of the most expansive and audacious schemes in a dizzying array of efforts by Mr. Trump and his supporters to deny his election loss and keep him in the White House.

It began even before some states had finished counting ballots, as officials in places like Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin came under pressure to create slates of electors announcing that Mr. Trump had won.

The scheme reached a crescendo in the days leading up to Jan. 6, when Mr. Trump and his allies mounted a relentless campaign to persuade Mr. Pence to accept the alternate electors and use them at a joint session of Congress to deny — or at least delay — Mr. Biden’s victory.

At various times, the plan involved state lawmakers and White House aides, though prosecutors seem to believe that a group of Mr. Trump’s lawyers played a crucial role in carrying it out. Investigators have cast a wide net for information about the lawyers, but prosecutors believe that not all of them may have supported the plans that Mr. Trump’s allies created to keep him in office, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Giuliani’s lawyer said he was unaware of any investigation into his client. Mr. Eastman’s lawyer and Ms. Ellis did not return emails seeking comment. Mr. Chesebro declined to answer questions about the inquiry.

The strategy of pushing the investigation forward by examining the lawyers’ roles could prove to be tricky. Prosecutors are likely to run into arguments that some — or even much — of the information they are seeking is protected by attorney-client privilege. And there is no indication that prosecutors have sought to subpoena the lawyers or search their property.

“There are heightened requirements for obtaining a search warrant on a lawyer,” said Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney in Alabama. “Even when opening a case where a lawyer could be a subject, prosecutors will flag that to make sure that people consider the rights of uninvolved parties.”

As a New York real estate mogul, Mr. Trump had a habit of employing lawyers to insulate himself from queries about his questionable business practices and personal behavior. In the White House — especially in times of stress or scandal — he often demanded loyalty from the lawyers around him, once asking in reference to a mentor and famous lawyer known for his ruthlessness, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”

Some of the lawyers who have come under scrutiny in connection with the alternate elector scheme are already facing allegations of professional impropriety or misconduct.

In June, for instance, Mr. Giuliani’s law license was suspended after a New York court ruled that he had made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” while fighting the election results on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Boris Epshteyn, another lawyer who worked with Mr. Giuliani, has also come under scrutiny in the Justice Department investigation, the people familiar with the matter said.

Two months before Mr. Giuliani’s license was suspended, F.B.I. agents conducted extraordinary searches of his home and office in New York as part of an unrelated inquiry centered on his dealings in Ukraine before the 2020 election, when he sought to damage Mr. Biden’s credibility.

In March, a federal judge in California ruled in a civil case that Mr. Eastman had most likely conspired with Mr. Trump to obstruct Congress and defraud the United States by helping to devise and promote the alternate elector scheme, and by presenting plans to Mr. Pence suggesting that he could exercise his discretion over which slates of electors to accept or reject at the Jan. 6 congressional certification of votes.

The scheme, which involved holding meetings and drafting emails and memos, was “a coup in search of a legal theory,” wrote the judge, David O. Carter of the Central District of California.

It was revealed this month that Mr. Eastman was involved in a similar — but perhaps even more brazen — effort to overturn to the election results. According to emails released by a public records request, Mr. Eastman pressed a Pennsylvania state lawmaker in December 2020 to carry out a plan to strip Mr. Biden of his win in that state by essentially retabulating the vote count in a way that would favor Mr. Trump.

A week before the disclosure of Mr. Eastman’s emails, Ms. Ellis was accused of misconduct in an ethics complaint submitted to court officials in Colorado, her home state.

The complaint, by the bipartisan legal watchdog group the States United Democracy Center, said that Ms. Ellis had made “numerous public misrepresentations” while traveling the country with Mr. Giuliani after the election in an effort to persuade local lawmakers that the voting had been marred by fraud.

It also noted that Ms. Ellis had assisted Mr. Trump in an “unsuccessful and potentially criminal effort” to stave off defeat by writing two memos arguing that Mr. Pence could ignore the electoral votes in key swing states that had pledged their support to Mr. Biden.

As for Mr. Chesebro, he was involved in what may have been the earliest known effort to put on paper proposals for preparing alternate electors.

A little more than two weeks after Election Day, Mr. Chesebro sent a memo to James Troupis, a lawyer for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, laying out a plan to name pro-Trump electors in the state. In a follow-up memo three weeks later, Mr. Chesebro expanded on the plan, setting forth an analysis of how to legally authorize alternate electors in six key swing states, including Wisconsin.

The two memos, obtained by The New York Times, were used by Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Eastman, among others, as they developed a strategy intended to pressure Mr. Pence and to exploit ambiguities in the Electoral Count Act, according to a person familiar with the matter.

 

Rudy Giuliani takes a break fromshaving in restaurantsto appear before the January 6 committee

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/05/donald-trump-gop-endorsements-mar-a-lago-400000-dollars

You may or may not be surprised to hear that Trump’s former lawyer was not as helpful as he could have been:

Donald Trump’s onetime attorney Rudy Giuliani testified to the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack at length on Friday but declined to discuss the involvement of congressional Republicans in efforts to overturn the 2020 election result, according to sources familiar with the matter. The move by Giuliani to refuse to give insight into Republican involvement could mean his appearance only marginally advanced the inquiry into his ploy to have the then vice-president, Mike Pence, unlawfully keep Trump in office after he lost to Joe Biden.

Giuliani asserted privilege and the work-product doctrine to decline to respond when asked to detail the roles played by House and Senate Republicans in the scheme to stop Congress’s certification of Biden’s victory on 6 January 2021, the sources said. The panel was not expecting Giuliani to divulge damning information against Trump, since committee counsel had agreed with Giuliani in advance that he should not have to violate legitimate claims of privilege he might have as the former president’s attorney.

According to The Guardian, Giuliani unsurprisingly spent much of the deposition “arguing about the debunked claims of election fraud which underpinned Trump’s allies’ push to return him to power,” because yes, these people are still somehow maintaining Trump won.

 

Rudy Giuliani Finally Appears Before Jan. 6 Panel for Questioning: CNN

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

May 20, 2022

The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to collect information. Today, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani met with its members for nine hours. Initially, he said he would not talk with them unless his testimony was videotaped.

 

New details show extent of GOP effort to unwind Trump’s loss

Documents and texts stemming from the House investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, offer new details about the extent House Republicans, particularly members of the Freedom Caucus, were involved in plans to unwind the 2020 election — even as lawyers at the White House warned them their proposals could be illegal.

The content — released in the committee’s court battle against Mark Meadows and in a trove of texts to the former chief of staff obtained by CNN — outlines a lengthy list of Republicans involved in conversations with the White House about planning for the rallies on Jan. 6 and efforts to oppose the certification of votes that day.

Taken together, the messages show how early the White House reached out to lawmakers in its effort to keep former President Trump in office.

They also show a consistent effort by various members to strategize over how to keep Trump in office after his election loss.

That effort ranged from selecting alternate slates of electors from swing states ahead of the Electoral College vote to directing the crowd to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 rallies to discussing the possibility that Trump declare martial law days before he was set to leave office. 

Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and Meadows, relays that Meadows, a former Freedom Caucus chairman, was the one to make “outreach” to members of the conservative caucus, including then-Rep-elects. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Hutchinson identified those four as being involved in the earliest stages of efforts to unwind the election.

Texts to Meadows as early as three days after Election Day 2020 show lawmakers rallying around the idea of alternate electors.

“I’m sure you have heard of this proposal,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) texted to Meadows on Nov. 6. “Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?”

As early as the first or second week of December, the White House’s own counsel was pushing back against the idea.

“Hey, this isn’t legally sound, we have fleshed this out internally, it’s fine that you think this but we’re not going to entertain this in an official White House capacity on behalf of the President, we’re putting a stop to this,” Hutchinson characterized the White House Counsel’s Office as saying.

That message was relayed to at least Perry, Jordan, and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), according to Hutchinson.

By Dec. 21, a larger group was meeting at the White House with Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani, where the focus had shifted to the ways former Vice President Mike Pence could buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results.

That group attending that meeting included Jordan, Brooks, Biggs, Gaetz, Greene, Gohmert, Perry, and Reps. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Hutchinson said.

“They felt that he had the authority to — pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but — send votes back to the States or the electors back to the States, more along the lines of the Eastman theory,” Hutchinson said, referring to John Eastman, who crafted two memos for the Trump campaign outlining how to challenge the election.

“I don’t recall anybody speaking out and definitively expressing disagreement with that theory,” she said of the lawmakers, adding that “the vice president’s team appeared slightly skeptical.” 

Later that day, Brooks suggested to Meadows they try to frame the meeting as being both positive and productive after being contacted by reporters.

“Media is contacting my office about this afternoon’s White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies,” Brooks wrote to Meadows. “Does the White House want me to reply or be mum? Also, it is one thing to discuss (in general terms) our meeting beforehand. It is another to discuss afterwards.

“If you believe discussion is a positive, I suggest message should be: 1. Progress is being made. 2. More are joining our fight. 3. We can’t allow voter fraud & election theft occur if we are going to be a republic. Your choice. Let me know,” he concluded.

About a week after the meeting, Greene complained to Meadows they didn’t get enough time to chat with Giuliani about the strategy.

“We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again.We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state,” she texted Meadows on New Year’s Eve.

While lawmakers were coordinating with the legal team through the White House, Perry was involved with Trump’s pressure campaign at the Department of Justice (DOJ), texting Meadows on both Dec. 26 and Dec. 28 to encourage him to make contact with Jeffrey Clark. Trump would later weigh installing Clark, a mid-level DOJ official who primarily worked on environmental issues, as acting attorney general in order to forward investigations into his baseless election fraud claims.

But new testimony released by the committee shows DOJ staff pushed back as Clark tried to get a memo directly to Pence to encourage him to not certify the election results on Jan. 6.

“Mr. Clark suggested that OLC provide a legal opinion to the Vice President with respect to his authority when it comes to opening the votes as the President of the Senate on Jan. 6,” Steven Engel, who served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ under Trump, told the committee.

“And I shot down that idea, but I said — I said: That’s an absurd idea. The — you know, the Vice President is acting as the President of the Senate. It is not the role of the Department of Justice to provide legislative officials with legal advice on the scope of their duties. And — you know, and — not to mention it was 3 days from the date. OLC doesn’t tend to provide the legal opinions, you know, in those cases, you know, in that short timeframe,” he added.

As Jan. 6 neared, lawmakers were once again coordinating with the White House about preparations for the day, including a discussion over whether to actively encourage rallygoers to march to the Capitol.

“I remember Mr. Perry had said that he had been starting to put tweets that night, Congressman Perry, that he was going to start putting out tweets that night, and he was a primary participant in the call,” Hutchinson said.

“I don’t think there’s a participant on the call that had necessarily discouraged the idea,” she added. “I don’t recall every single participant on the call that night, but I do recall it was a Freedom Caucus call.”

Gaetz would also go on to advertise on Jan. 5 during an appearance on Fox News that there could be “tens of thousands of people potentially marching in the streets in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.”

The same two troves show many GOP lawmakers would text Meadows as the chaos was unfolding at the Capitol, with some pleading for the chief of staff to get Trump to take action.

And other prior reporting shows that some Republicans who were initially involved eventually backed away from White House efforts amid their own doubts.

Still, another text from Greene just days before President Biden’s inauguration shows Greene — and evidently other members — were hopeful Trump might still try to resist any effort to swear in a new president and provide lawmakers tools to go after the new president.

 “In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him,” she texted Meadows on Jan. 17.

“They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!” she added.

[Boldface added]

Building the “Big Lie”: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth — ProPublica

Internal emails and interviews with key participants reveal for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the rigged election theory touted evidence they knew to be disproven, disputed or dismissed as dubious.

ProPublica has obtained a trove of internal emails and other documentation that, taken together, tell the inside story of a group of people who propagated a number of the most pervasive theories about how the election was stolen, especially that voting machines were to blame, and helped move them from the far-right fringe to the center of the Republican Party.

Those records, as well as interviews with key participants, show for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the stolen-election theory touted evidence that they knew to be disproven or that had been credibly disputed or dismissed as dubious by operatives within their own camp. Some members of the coalition presented this mix of unreliable witnesses, unconfirmed rumor and suspect analyses as fact in published reports, talking points and court documents. In several cases, their assertions became the basis for Trump’s claims that the election had been rigged.

Our examination of their actions from the 2020 election to the present day reveals a pattern. Many members of the coalition would advance a theory based on evidence that was never vetted or that they’d been told was flawed; then, when the theory was debunked, they’d move on to the next alternative and then the next.

These Two Lawyers Breathed Life Into Trump’s Big Lie, but Did They Even Believe It?

Ty Cobb, a former Trump White House attorney, said it was “very unfortunate” that Trump’s advisers “fed him nonsense about the election results” because it likely led to Jan. 6.

Jose Pagliery, Political Investigations Reporter

Asawin Suebsaeng, Senior Political Reporter

Published Mar. 10, 2022 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-lawyers-john-eastman-and-jeffrey-clark-breathed-life-into-trumps-big-lie

Trump’s despotic strategy relied on two main parts: interrupting congressional certification of the electoral ballot count and spreading lies about Joe Biden’s victorious election results, according to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. Both were legal quagmires that flouted the U.S. Constitution—and Trump had a lawyer for each one. [This reference is to John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark, respectively].

In the earlier days of his anti-democratic crusade that began right afterElection Night 2020, Trump would discuss with senior administration officials and aides some of the nonsensical ideas he’d heard from Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and several other key election deadenders. Trump was getting inundated with theories (however baseless and lie-heavy) from a band of committed Trumpists, and wanted to get advice on what his other advisers thought of the theories, and what they thought of Powell, Giuliani, and company. [Boldface added]

On a number of occasions in that brief time period, according to three people familiar with the matter, the then-president was told that Powell and the other election denialists were “crazy,” or opportunists who were just telling him what they thought he wanted to hear. Trump was warned that Powell and the gang were trying to sell him on something that was doomed in a courtroom.

Trump would often respond to this early counsel with phrases such as “maybe you’re right,” “I guess you might be right,” or even “I guess you’re right.”

But as the post-election days dragged on, it didn’t matter. Trump was all-in on his “fraud” and “rigged election” propaganda, and he jumped on virtually every opportunity or fanatic proposal.

In his final months in office, Trump was surrounded by lieutenants and sycophants willing to take his multi-pronged effort to its logical, menacing extremes. People of influence close to Trump who didn’t believe a word of it played along anyway, and often actively worked to support the outgoing president’s bogus claims.

According to the knowledgeable sources, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House aide, privately admitted that a lot of what Trump’s lawyers were pushing was a fraud and farce. Nevertheless, Team Trump continued to hold up Kushner as an example of a supposed true-believer—despite his obvious lack of commitment to the cause.

“Jared has been more hardcore in fighting back on this [election outcome] than anybody,” Trump’s then-senior adviser Jason Miller told The Daily Beast in early November 2020.

Similarly, top aides on Trump’s reelection campaign, including his 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien, also—again, privatelyexpressed their conclusion that the legal challenges were doomed and that the MAGA lawyers’ work was built on little more than embarrassing conspiracy theories. And yet, they pretended not to be embarrassed, and publicly claimed “we are here to support” Giuliani and his legal team, even as official campaign surrogates were freely admitting that Trump had lost, fair and square. [Boldface added]

With more than a year’s distance from the bloody assault on the U.S. Capitol, vanishingly few prominent Republicans are willing to blame the ex-president for the riot, or admit that the Trumpists’ “stolen election” lies have no basis in reality. The small number of conservatives who do, though, often do not spend much time publicly calling out Trump by name, despite the fact that he was responsible for all of it.

Instead, they generally reserve their scorn for a handful of aides and lawyers—the Eastmans and the Clarks of the world—who did their best to protect and enable Trump.

Last month, during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Pence’s former chief of staff told host Chuck Todd that the president received bad legal advice—but he wasn’t sure if this was merely a case where Trump simply heard exactly what he wanted to hear.

“I think, unfortunately, the president had many bad advisers that were basically snake oil salesmen giving him really random and novel ideas as to what the vice president could do,” Marc Short said.

Judge denies Fox News motion to dismiss defamation suit by election-tech company Smartmatic

By Jeremy Barr

March 9, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/03/09/smartmatic-fox-lawsuit-not-dismissed/

[Excerpts:]

A judge allowed an election technology company’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News to proceed on Tuesday, though he dismissed specific claims made against host Jeanine Pirro and two of the network’s guests.

New York Supreme Court Judge David B. Cohen denied Fox’s motion to dismiss the 2021 lawsuit, in which the company, Smartmatic, alleged that the network and several of its on-air personalities “decimated its future business prospects” by falsely accusing it of rigging the 2020 election against Donald Trump.

And he dismissed some of Smartmatic’s claims against Rudolph W. Giuliani while allowing others to continue, noting that the Trump lawyer explicitly alleged that Smartmatic committed crimes — comments, Cohen wrote, that “if false, were defamatory per se.”

At a rally on Oct. 9 in Des Moines, former president Donald Trump continued to unleash a litany of false and unproven claims of voter fraud in 2020. (Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

Smartmatic sued Fox News Media, its parent company and several personalities in February last year, claiming it aired dozens of false statements that fed a conspiracy theory alleging the company’s election software helped Democrats steal votes. Fox News quickly filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it had merely been reporting on newsworthy events.

In his ruling, Cohen wrote that Smartmatic has a legitimate basis to argue that “Fox News had reason to suspect that what it was broadcasting was false” when the network airedunfounded claims made by Powell and Giuliani because they could not provide evidence for their claims.

“Even assuming that Fox News did not intentionally allow this false narrative to be broadcasted, there is a substantial basis for plaintiffs’ claim that, at a minimum, Fox News turned a blind eye to a litany of outrageous claims about plaintiffs, unprecedented in the history of American elections, so inherently improbable that it evinced a reckless disregard for the truth,” Cohen wrote.

Cohen also wrote that “there is a substantial basis for plaintiffs’ claim that Fox News actually had information undermining any claim that the election was rigged and willfully disregarded the same” because the network had asked Smartmatic for the company’s response to a Nov. 12, 2020, statement made by a government election oversight body that the 2020 contest was “the most secure in American history.”

Despite the network’s contention that it did not make election fraud allegations directly, Cohen wrote that “since Fox News allowed allegedly defamatory statements about [Smartmatic] to be repeated on its network, a jury may therefore find that it acted with intent or reckless disregard of the truth.”

The next step in the case, a preliminary conference, will be held on May 18.

A similar lawsuit filed against Fox by election technology company Dominion Voting Systems was allowed to proceed by a Delaware judge in December.

 

Barr calls prospect of Trump running for president again ‘dismaying,’ says GOP should ‘look forward’ to others

By Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey

February 27, 2022

[Excerpts:]

Former attorney general William P. Barr says in a new book that the prospect of Donald Trump running for president again is “dismaying” and urges the Republican Party to “look forward” to other candidates, concluding after a searing, behind-the-scenes account of his time in the president’s Cabinet that Trump is not the right man to lead the country.

In the book, “One Damn Thing After Another,” Barr takes shot after shot at Trump, especially over his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and his false claims that the election was stolen from him. Barr, who had a famous falling-out with Trump late in his presidency, writes that Trump’s “constant bellicosity diminishes him and the office,” and that in the final months of the administration, he came to realize that “Trump cared only about one thing: himself. Country and principle took second place.”

  “Donald Trump has shown he has neither the temperament nor persuasive powers to provide the kind of positive leadership that is needed.”

Most notably, he unloads on Trump, casting him as an “incorrigible” narcissist who, “through his self-indulgence and lack of self-control,” blew the 2020 election and then did “a disservice to the nation” in falsely claiming his defeat was due to fraud.

“The election was not ‘stolen,’” Barr writes. “Trump lost it.”

The breaking point for Barr and Trump’s relationship, though, seems to have come after the election, when Barr refused to back Trump’s claims of widespread fraud.

In more detail than he has previously shared, Barr describes how he marshaled the Justice Department and the FBI to explore various fraud claims. And in each instance, he writes, they could find no evidence to support those claims — though that did not deter the president.

“I got calls from senators and members of the House asking me what I thought about all the claims of fraud,” Barr writes. “On this trajectory, the peaceful transition of power was not an obviously attainable goal.”

Barr takes particular aim at those who had the president’s ear — including former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who Barr says will be remembered as “the man who helped President Trump get impeached not once but twice.” (Giuliani was involved in the pressure campaign in Ukraine, which was at the heart of Trump’s first impeachment, and the effort to overturn the election, which fueled the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and was at the heart of the second.) [Boldface added]

Barr writes that Trump “surrounded himself with sycophants, including many whack jobs from outside the government, who fed him a steady diet of comforting but unsupported conspiracy theories.” He seems to blame Trump for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, in which supporters of the president stormed the building as lawmakers were finalizing the vote count.

Barr writes that he repeatedly informed Trump, through his staff, that the Justice Department was not finding evidence to support his claims of fraud. The issue came to a head in December 2020, when Barr said as much publicly to the Associated Press.

 

What the January 6th Papers Reveal

The Supreme Court ruled to give the House Select Committee access to a trove of documents detailing election-negating strategies that Donald Trump and his advisers entertained—including a military seizure of voting machines—but he continues to peddle a counter-narrative in which he’s the victim.

By Amy Davidson Sorkin

February 6, 2022

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/02/14/what-the-january-6th-papers-reveal?

[Excerpts:]

The receipt of the papers has fuelled a burst of revelations about the Trump White House’s involvement in the events leading up to the assault on the Capitol, and about Trump’s desperate efforts to hold on to the Presidency. One of the documents, as Politico first reported, is a draft executive order, which was not issued, directing the Department of Defense to seize voting machines and associated electronic records in various states. That story was followed by reports, in the Times and elsewhere, about how Trump and his advisers debated the order—and whether there might be better ways to overturn the election. (Rudy Giuliani may have been the one to persuade Trump not to go down that military-backed-coup route.) There also seems to have been a draft executive order instructing the Department of Homeland Security to seize those voting machines, and a separate proposal telling the Department of Justice that it should do so, which D.H.S. Secretary Ken Cuccinelli and Attorney General William Barr both resisted. [Boldface added].

One election-negating strategy that Giuliani apparently did like involved manufacturing “competing” slates of Presidential electors. The idea, promoted by John Eastman, a law professor, in a how-to-pull-a-coup playbook, was that Vice-President Mike Pence would use the uncertainty created by such slates as a pretext for cutting short the counting of electoral votes on January 6th. Pence refused, but not before would-be Trump electors from seven states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all of which Joe Biden won—sent certificates to the National Archives claiming that they had cast their states’ votes for Trump on December 14th, the day that electors who had actually been chosen convened around the country.

Among those seven states, there is a significant distinction: in Pennsylvania and New Mexico, local Republicans noted in their submissions that their votes were contingent upon Trump’s winning his challenges to the election results. In the other five, there was no such qualification—the votes were sent in with language proclaiming Trump the winner. As a result, those Trump certificates might, in legal terms, be considered forgeries or falsified election materials. The Justice Department has confirmed that it is investigating the scheme, and the Select Committee has subpoenaed people involved in preparing the certificates from all seven states. One question to be answered is how much pressure the Trump team put on local Republicans to submit the fake certifications.

[Boldface added].

 

Alexander Vindman sues Trump Jr. and Giuliani, alleging retaliation over first Trump impeachment proceedings

By Amy B Wang

February 2, 2022 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/02/alexander-vindman-sues-trump-jr-giuliani-retaliation-over-first-trump-impeachment-trial/

Alexander Vindman, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former White House national security aide, is suing several allies of former president Donald Trump, alleging that they intimidated and retaliated against him while he was a key witness during Trump’s first impeachment.

According to the 73-page complaint, Vindman’s lawsuit “seeks long-overdue accountability for unlawful actions knowingly undertaken by close associates and allies” of Trump, alleging that they “engaged in an intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and retaliation against [Vindman] to prevent him from and then punish him for testifying truthfully before Congress during impeachment proceedings against President Trump.”

Those named as defendants in Vindman’s lawsuit include Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s eldest son; former Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani; former White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino; and former White House deputy communications director Julia Hahn. The complaint alleges that the defendants violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which makes it unlawful to conspire to interfere with a federal official’s ability to carry out the duties of their office or to interfere with any witness’s ability to testify.

Vindman, who was formerly the National Security Council’s expert on Ukraine, had listened to a July 2019 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his ties to Ukrainian businesses. Vindman reported the call through official channels, and Trump’s alleged attempts to pressure Ukraine into political investigations by leveraging promises of an official White House visit by Zelensky and military aid would later become the basis of his first impeachment and Senate trial.

Congress issued a subpoena to Vindman, who testified in an impeachment inquiryabout his concerns over Trump’s actions involving Ukraine. Vindman immediately became the target of a witness-intimidation campaign by Trump and his allies that “did not simply happen by accident or coincidence,” his lawsuit alleges.

Vindman, who was formerly the National Security Council’s expert on Ukraine, had listened to a July 2019 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his ties to Ukrainian businesses. Vindman reported the call through official channels, and Trump’s alleged attempts to pressure Ukraine into political investigations by leveraging promises of an official White House visit by Zelensky and military aid would later become the basis of his first impeachment and Senate trial.

Congress issued a subpoena to Vindman, who testified in an impeachment inquiryabout his concerns over Trump’s actions involving Ukraine. Vindman immediately became the target of a witness-intimidation campaign by Trump and his allies that “did not simply happen by accident or coincidence,” his lawsuit alleges.

 

Rudy Giuliani, oversaw fake electors plot in 7 states

By Marshall CohenZachary Cohen and Dan Merica, CNN

Updated January 21, 2022

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/20/politics/trump-campaign-officials-rudy-giuliani-fake-electors/index.html

[Excerpt:]

Washington (CNN)Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw efforts in December 2020 to put forward illegitimate electors from seven states that Trump lost, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the scheme.

The sources said members of former President Donald Trump’s campaign team were far more involved than previously known in the plan, a core tenet of the broader plot to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory when Congress counted the electoral votes on January 6.

 

Investigations

As Giuliani coordinated plan for Trump electoral votes in states Biden won, some electors balked

By Beth Reinhard, Amy GardnerJosh DawseyEmma Brown and Rosalind S. Helderman

January 20, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/electors-giuliani-trump-electoral-college/2022/01/20/687e3698-7587-11ec-8b0a-bcfab800c430_story.html

 

Judge rejects Fox News request to dismiss Dominion Voting’s defamation lawsuit over election claims

By Timothy Bella

December 17, 2021 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/12/17/judge-fox-news-dominion-lawsuit-election/

[Excerpts:]

A judge on Thursday rejected a request from Fox News to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over baseless claims made against the company during the 2020 presidential election, allowing the suit to move forward.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis said it was “reasonably conceivable” for the Denver-based voting-machine company to have a defamation claim.

“The Court can infer that Fox intended to avoid the truth,” Davis wrote in a 52-page ruling. “Whether Dominion ultimately will prove Fox’s actual malice by clear and convincing evidence is irrelevant on a motion to dismiss. … Accordingly, Fox’s Motion should be denied.”

Dominion filed the lawsuit against Fox News earlier this year, claiming that some of its highest-profile on-air talent helped elevate false charges that the company had changed votes to favor Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump.

The lawsuit claims that hosts such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro brought Trump allies onto their shows to spread lies asserting that Dominion was using algorithms in voting machines that were created in Venezuela to rig multiple elections for Hugo Chávez, the late president.

Dominion alerted Fox News and its anchors to information disproving the false claims being broadcast against the company, according to the judge. The allegations from Dominion in the lawsuit show that Fox was given “signs indicating the reports were false,” Davis wrote.

“Fox possessed countervailing evidence of election fraud from the Department of Justice, election experts, and Dominion at the time it had been making its statements,” the judge wrote. “The fact that, despite this evidence, Fox continued to publish its allegations against Dominion, suggests Fox knew the allegations were probably false.”

The judge’s ruling, considered a major win for Dominion, comes about a year after the company was the subject of many baseless accusations about election fraud following November 2020. After his loss, Trump and his allies spread false claims that, as he put it, voting software is “used in states where tens of thousands of votes were stolen from us and given to Biden.” When he was still on Twitter, Trump, who described Dominion as “horrible, inaccurate and anything but secure,” retweeted a baseless report that the voting-machine system had “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide.”Election results under attack: Here are the facts

There is no evidence that any voting systems were compromised, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr, also confirmed that he had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

The lawsuit specifies how Trump allies such as Rudolph W. Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell were given platforms on shows hosted by Carlson, Hannity and Pirro to spread the false claims of election fraud. Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, whose show was canceled earlier this year, are also mentioned in the lawsuit.

Dominion pointed to how Hannity and Dobbs “brought on Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell to assert their claims that Dominion rigged the election by changing votes in its machines.” Another instance mentioned in the lawsuit involved when Carlson brought Lindell, the founder of MyPillow, onto his show to talk about his ban from Twitter, only for him to spread false claims of election fraud against Dominion.

“Carlson endorsed Mr. Lindell’s claim that Mr. Lindell found the machine fraud and had all the evidence,” according to the complaint.

Dominion eventually sent an email to Fox personalities and producers titled, “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: FACTS & RUMORS,” the judge noted. Election officials and experts also went on the network to emphasize how there was “absolutely no evidence” that Dominion changed votes during the election.

“Despite these efforts, Fox continued to promote known lies on its broadcasts, websites, social media accounts and subscription service platforms,” Davis wrote. “Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo, and Mr. Hannity also continued to give Ms. Powell and Mr. Giuliani a platform to disseminate lies about Dominion by hosting them on their shows. Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo and Mr. Hannity likewise endorsed and repeated those lies.”

The lawsuit claimed that Bartiromo “continued promoting lies even though she had been specifically notified that independent fact-checkers, government officials and election security experts debunked those lies about Dominion.”

“Moreover, Ms. Bartiromo had actual knowledge that Georgia conducted a hand recount of every paper ballot,” Davis wrote.

The network has defended its coverage, arguing that media must be able to fully report a story that involves claims that hit at the core of U.S. democracy. The judge rejected Fox’s argument that some of its top personalities were reporting the news with flair, saying that “Fox’s reporting comprised opinion ‘mixed’ with false facts.”

“Although Fox classifies its reporters’ remarks as ‘commentary’ that used ‘loose and hyperbolic rhetoric’ for entertainment value, even loose and hyperbolic language can be actionable if it rests on false statements of fact undisclosed to viewers,” the judge said.

The lawsuit against Fox is one of several that Dominion has brought stemming from false claims after the election. Separate defamation lawsuits filed by Dominion against Powell, a former Trump campaign lawyer, and Giuliani, Trump’s former attorney, previously survived motions to dismiss in federal court in Washington.

Dominion isn’t the only election technology company to sue Fox over its election coverage. Smartmatic Corp. is suing the network for $2.7 billion in damages, as part of a lawsuit that also names Pirro, Bartiromo and Dobbs as defendants. Fox has also requested to dismiss that lawsuit.

The Dominion defamation lawsuit against Fox will continue toward a final judgment, with both sides gathering evidence in the case.

[Boldface added]

 

What happens when the administration is hinged on the unhinged?

By Mary Ellen Curtin

November 26, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/what-happens-when-the-administration-is-hinged-on-the-unhinged/2021/11/23/2336f1e0-496a-11ec-b8d9-232f4afe4d9b_story.html

[A]s ABC newsman Jonathan Karl explains in “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” Trump chose to launch a violent insurrection that upended the peaceful transfer of power.

Karl prides himself on his scoops, which have gotten lots of play in the media, but even more valuable is his coolheaded narrative. He explains the divisions within Trump’s camp on election night and the ensuing chaos that resulted when Rudy Giuliani and his entourage — otherwise known by others in the Trump circle as “the crazies” — began alleging a vast global conspiracy of voter fraud that supposedly involved Cuba, China, Spain, Venezuela, George Soros, Germany and CIA Director Gina Haspel, as well as Dominion and Smartmatic, makers of voting systems. Karl shows how these lies, distortions, falsehoods and, in his words, “wacky” conspiracy theories not only lacked merit but were also utterly fantastic.  [Boldface added]

Judge orders two lawyers who filed suit challenging 2020 election to pay hefty fees: ‘They need to take responsibility’

By Rosalind S. Helderman

November 23, 2021 
[Excerpts:]

A federal judge has ordered two Colorado lawyers who filed a lawsuit late last year challenging the 2020 election results to pay nearly $187,000 to defray the legal fees of groups they sued, arguing that the hefty penalty was proper to deter others from using frivolous suits to undermine the democratic system.

“As officers of the Court, these attorneys have a higher duty and calling that requires meaningful investigation before prematurely repeating in court pleadings unverified and uninvestigated defamatory rumors that strike at the heart of our democratic system and were used by others to foment a violent insurrection that threatened our system of government,” Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter wrote.

The two argued that a scheme was engineered by the voting machine vendor Dominion Voting Systems; the tech company Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan; and elected officials in four states. They had sought $160 billion in damages. (Boldface added]

Their case was dismissed in April. In August, Neureiter ruled that the attorneys had violated their ethical obligations by filing it in the first place, arguing that the duo had run afoul of legal rules that prohibit clogging the courts with frivolous motions and lodging information in court that is not true. At the time, he called their suit “the stuff of which violent insurrections are made,” alleging they made little effort to determine the truth of their conspiratorial claims before filing them in court. He ordered them to pay the legal fees of all of the many entities they had sued.

 

At the Willard and the White House, the Jan. 6 Panel Widens Its Net

What went on at a five-star hotel near the White House the day before the riot could be a window into how a Trump-directed plot to upend the election ended in violence at the Capitol.

[Excerpts]

In another room of the five-star hotel, a phalanx of lawyers and political advisers for Mr. Trump — including Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer; Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner; and John Eastman, a scholar working feverishly on a legal strategy to prevent Joseph R. Biden Jr. from assuming the presidency — had set up a kind of command post. On the hotel’s grand front steps, Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime Trump adviser, was flashing his signature Nixon victory sign to fans as members of the Oath Keepers, a militant group, protected him.

What unfolded at the Willard Hotel in the hours before the Capitol riot has become a prime focus of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack as the panel intensifies its scrutiny into whether there was any coordination or tie between those pushing a legal strategy to overturn the election results and those who stormed the Capitol that day as Congress met to count the electoral votes to formalize Mr. Biden’s victory.

The panel is pressing for answers about gatherings at the Willard and other Washington hotels where Mr. Trump’s allies who were involved in the effort to overturn the election, including Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Eastman, met in the hours before the riot. 

[Boldface added]

 

Trump allies did little to investigate election fraud claims, court documents show

By Tierney Sneed and Katelyn Polantz, CNN

Updated October 7, 2021

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/07/politics/giuliani-powell-voter-fraud-claims-vetting-eric-coomer/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_allpolitics+%28RSS%3A+CNN+-+Politics%29

Allies of former President Donald Trump testified under oath that they did little to check out some of the uncorroborated claims they made about 2020 election fraud before amplifying them on the national stage, according to newly available court records reviewed by CNN. 

While the bogus fraud claims have long been debunked, these latest revelations are being made in sworn depositions and highlight how little vetting was done by certain Trump allies seeking to spread doubt about the integrity of the presidential election results. 

The more than 2,000 pages of documents reviewed by CNN provide the most significant look yet at evidence collected in several defamation cases brought against top Trump mouthpieces. In this lawsuit, former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer alleges he was defamed by the Trump campaign, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and prominent conservatives. 

According to the account that Giuliani gave in the case, he spent less than an hour reviewing allegations that Coomer was part of a plot to rig the election before publicly making those claims at a November press conference. [Boldface added.]

‘We won’: Trump and his allies barrel ahead with election lies despite Arizona review confirming his loss

And when Powell was deposed by Coomer’s lawyer, she acknowledged that she did not have “a lot of specific knowledge about what Mr. Coomer personally did” in the supposed scheme to steal the election. 

The new documents have already been cited in at least one other case stemming from bogus election fraud claims, where Wisconsin state officials are seeking sanctions against Powell for making those claims there. The Wisconsin officials say Powell and other Trump-aligned lawyers failed at “even the most basic” effort to verify conspiracy theories. 

 

Trump Sails Away as Rudy Giuliani Drowns in Legal Bills

As Giuliani struggles with mounting legal bills, the former president’s longtime friend can’t even get a retweet.

Asawin Suebsaeng Senior Political Reporter

Adam Rawnsley Senior Researcher

  Aug. 09, 2021

https://www.thedailybeast.com/donald-trump-sails-away-as-rudy-giuliani-drowns-in-legal-bills

 [Excerpts:]

In the meantime, his legal bills continue to grow. Attorneys for Dominion Voting Systems have filed a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit against Giuliani for echoing wild conspiracy theories about the company’s products. Democratic lawmakers have also accused him—alongside former President Trump—of helping to incite the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. And the most serious legal headache for Giuliani looms over all of his troubles: a Justice Department criminal probe into whether he violated foreign lobbying laws through his work in Ukraine.

Naturally, Trump’s sporadic public sympathy hasn’t extended to amplification of Giuliani’s legal defense fund, much less a check from the former president’s well-stocked campaign fund.

According to three sources familiar with the matter, there have been several fruitless attempts this year by Giuliani’s camp to convince Trump to swoop in and provide significant financial support and other forms of assistance to Giuliani. After all, a primary reason Giuliani is even under the investigative gaze of the feds is because of what he did—largely at the former president’s behest—during the Trump-Ukraine scandal.

 

An Appeals Court Has Suspended Rudy Giuliani’s Ability To Practice Law In D.C.

https://www.npr.org/2021/07/08/1014047881/an-appeals-court-has-suspended-rudy-giulianis-ability-to-practice-law-in-d-c

July 8, 2021

JACLYN DIAZ

A Washington, D.C., court has suspended the law license for Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s attorney, just weeks after New York similarly took action against him.

Giuliani’s law license will remain suspended in the nation’s capital pending the resolution of his case in New York, according to the District of Columbia appeals court.

 

Update: Rudy Giuliani’s Law License Suspended for Ethical Violations

https://ldad.org/letters-briefs/giuliani-suspended

June 28, 2021

Late last week, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York ordered the immediate suspension of Rudolph Giuliani’s license to practice law. 

The court concluded that there was “uncontroverted evidence that [Giuliani] communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.”  

This decision is a stunning rebuke to Giuliani’s pattern of continuing misrepresentations and deceptions concerning the 2020 presidential election. The unanimous decision by the court detailed the many specific false statements that were repeated by Giuliani, notwithstanding a complete lack of evidence or foundational basis for their truth. In fact, even when these statements had been proven false, Giuliani continued his false and deceptive narrative. 

Read More

In the substantial coverage of this suspension, too little attention has been paid to the words of the court which should resonate with every lawyer who works each day to faithfully act within the bounds of ethical rules and to uphold their oath to the constitution. Specifically, the court stated:

This is not a situation where the uncontroverted misconduct consisted of only a few isolated incidents. Rather, each of the false statements identified and analyzed herein were made multiple times on multiple platforms, reaching countless members of the public. …

The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated. This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden. The hallmark of our democracy is predicated on free and fair elections. False statements intended to foment a loss of confidence in our elections and resulting loss of confidence in government generally damage the proper functioning of a free society. When those false statements are made by an attorney, it also erodes the public’s confidence in the integrity of attorneys admitted to our bar and damages the profession’s role as a crucial source of reliable information. … This event only emphasizes the larger point that the broad dissemination of false statements, casting doubt on the legitimacy of thousands of validly cast votes, is corrosive to the public’s trust in our most important democratic institutions.

Critically, the court also stated that an interim suspension pending completion of disciplinary proceedings is “a serious remedy, available only in situations where it is immediately necessary to protect the public from the respondent’s violations of the [Rules of Professional Conduct].”

The decision is an affirmation that under our ethical rules, lawyers have a special obligation to tell the truth both in and outside of the courtroom. The court correctly determined that Giuliani’s false narrative of election fraud, in support of the Big Lie, represented a serious and continuing risk to the public interest that justified immediate suspension while disciplinary hearings are pending.

LDAD is gratified that its complaint filed in January played a role in this important outcome. 

While a number of complaints were filed against Giuliani calling for discipline, to our knowledge, LDAD’s was by far the most comprehensive and was carefully analyzed and supported by leading ethics experts. 

Moreover, it was the only complaint to call for his immediate suspension under the special and rarely used statutory procedure invoked by the court in its decision.

The decision should also serve as an example to disciplinary authorities in other jurisdictions that the application of the ethical standards of our profession apply to even the most prominent lawyers. The decision stands in stark contrast to the rejection by the District of Columbia Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the complaint filed last year against then Attorney General William Barr by LDAD and many prominent lawyers in DC.  That complaint was rejected by disciplinary counsel who alleged that the signers lacked “personal knowledge” of the facts, and that, as a matter of policy disciplinary counsel does “not intervene in matters that are currently and publicly being discussed in the national political arena.” 

With the Giuliani suspension, the New York appellate court has rightly rejected a policy of effective immunity that seems to be granted to prominent lawyers in DC. Moreover, the legal efforts in DC are continuing. Last week, LDAD and the signers in DC asked the D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility to exercise its oversight responsibility and to reverse this misguided and offensive policy.  

LDAD remains fully committed to ensuring that lawyers are help accountable for violating their oath and actions that undercut the core of our democratic institutions.

The Giuliani decision can be seen here.  

 

Court Suspends Giuliani’s Law License, Citing Trump Election Lies

The former mayor of New York, once the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, is temporarily barred from practicing law in the state and faces possible disbarment.

By Nicole HongWilliam K. Rashbaum and Ben Protess

June 24, 2021

[Excerpts:]

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/24/nyregion/giuliani-law-license-suspended-trump.html

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former top federal prosecutor, New York City mayor and lawyer to a president, had his law license suspended after a New York court ruled on Thursday that he made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” while fighting the results of the 2020 election on behalf of Donald J. Trump.

The New York State appellate court temporarily suspended Mr. Giuliani’s law license on the recommendation of a disciplinary committee after finding he had sought to mislead judges, lawmakers and the public as he helped shepherd Mr. Trump’s legal challenge to the election results. For months, Mr. Giuliani, who was Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, had argued without merit that the vote had been rife with fraud and that voting machines had been rigged.

In its 33-page decision, the court said that Mr. Giuliani’s actions represented an “immediate threat” to the public and that he had “directly inflamed” the tensions that led to the Capitol riot in January.

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“The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated. This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden,” the decision read.

Mr. Giuliani now faces disciplinary proceedings, which are typically closed to the public, and can fight the suspension. But the court said in its decision that he would be likely to face “permanent sanctions” after the proceedings conclude. A final outcome could be months away but could include punishment ranging from a written warning to disbarment.

From nearly the moment on Election Day when Fox News declared that Mr. Biden had won Arizona, Mr. Giuliani urged Mr. Trump to fight the outcomes in a handful of battleground states. Mr. Trump tapped Mr. Giuliani to lead his legal efforts.

But while Mr. Giuliani repeatedly claimed he could prove widespread fraud in the election, including showing that dead people had cast ballots, he offered no evidence supporting that contention in court. He traveled the country to press his claims with lawmakers in several battleground states.

On Jan. 6, Mr. Giuliani addressed a rally by Trump supporters near the White House ahead of the certification of the Electoral College vote in Congress. Mr. Giuliani told the crowd he sought a “trial by combat.”

A short time later, hundreds of Trump supporters left the rally and swarmed the Capitol, breaking into the building and threatening lawmakers.

In Thursday’s decision, the New York court said that false statements like the ones made by Mr. Giuliani tarnished the reputation of the entire legal profession. Mr. Giuliani’s misconduct “directly inflamed” the tensions that led to the Capitol riot, the court said.

“One only has to look at the ongoing present public discord over the 2020 election, which erupted into violence, insurrection and death on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, to understand the extent of the damage that can be done when the public is misled by false information about the elections,” the court wrote.

The court noted, for instance, that Mr. Giuliani repeatedly claimed tens of thousands of underage teenagers had voted illegally in Georgia. An audit by the Georgia Office of the Secretary of State found that no one under the age of 18 had voted in the 2020 election.

But Mr. Giuliani continued to repeat the false claim as recently as April 27 on his radio show, the court said, after a disciplinary committee had already petitioned the court to suspend his law license.

The fallout from Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election has ensnared several members of his legal team. Earlier this year, Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology company, sued Mr. Giuliani and Sidney Powell, another Trump lawyer, accusing them of spreading “a viral disinformation campaign” about the company’s machines manipulating vote tallies.

In the defamation lawsuit against Mr. Giuliani, Dominion is seeking more than $1.3 billion in damages. Mr. Giuliani has called the suit an “act of intimidation by the hate-filled left-wing.”

There is a separate federal investigation into Mr. Giuliani that centers on his dealings in Ukraine before the 2020 election, when he sought to damage President Biden’s credibility. In April, F.B.I. agents seized Mr. Giuliani’s cellphones and computers, an extraordinary action to take against a lawyer for a former president.

Prosecutors have been investigating whether Mr. Giuliani illegally lobbied the Trump administration in 2019 on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs, who were assisting Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Mr. Biden and his son. Mr. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.

The New York court’s decision is not related to that investigation but examined Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to overturn the results of the November presidential election.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

“The right to vote is the source of all institutions of democratic government.’

— U.S. Representative John Bingham (the principal author of the Fourteenth Amendment)