The debut witness during his own disciplinary proceedings, attorney Rudy Giuliani testified that former President Donald Trump tapped him to lead his litigation blitz the day after Election Day. The former mayor of New York City depicted that effort as scattershot and disorganized.
“I showed up with a small group of lawyers that I put together quickly,” Giuliani said.
Earlier on Monday, D.C. disciplinary counsel Hamilton Fox said that Giuliani “weaponized his law license” against the Constitution that he took an oath to uphold. The counsel called Giuliani as his first witness in making that case.
Questioning quickly turned antagonistic, with Fox colorfully characterizing Giuliani’s answers as evasive.
“I’m asking you what time it is, and you’re telling me how to make a watch,” Fox quipped.
Initially, Giuliani avoided a direct answer to the question of whether he was responsible for writing the draft complaints. He had testified earlier in the proceedings that he had expected the Trump campaign to have those draft complaints ready when he started working with the team, but those documents were not in fact ready.
Asked whether he co-authored the initial draft of the complaint in the Pennsylvania litigation with attorney Ronald Hicks, Giuliani answered: “Not that day.” Fox noted that he had not been asking about the chronology.
“Will you let me finish my answer?” Giuliani asked. “I let you finish your question.”
At that point, the Board’s Chair Robert Bernius reminded Giuliani about his role as a witness, not an “advocate.”
When Giuliani denied having been responsible for the first draft, the disciplinary counsel confronted the former mayor with a transcript from a taped deposition in which he said the opposite. Giuliani later started to expand on his belief that there was a conspiracy across U.S. states to tilt the election in President Joe Biden’s favor.
“That’s how, gosh, I prove conspiracy throughout my career,” exclaimed Giuliani, a former U.S. Attorney from the Southern District of New York who spearheaded Mafia prosecutions decades ago.
The digressions earned Giuliani another rebuke from Bernius.
“You’ve been a trial lawyer for a long time, and you understand how the process works,” Bernius scolded the former mayor. “The process is regularized.”
Giuliani blamed his responses on his experiences in the past few years.
“I believe that I’ve been persecuted for three or four years, including false charges brought against me by the federal government,” Giuliani said, referring to the search warrant on his home on suspicion of illegal foreign lobbying. The seizure of his records sparked an extensive fight over attorney-client privilege, before the government recently disclosed that they did not plan to pursue a criminal case.
Giuliani, whose law license was suspended in Washington, D.C., last year, was never charged with a crime. The disciplinary counsel for the D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility says that Giuliani’s “frivolous” lawsuit in Pennsylvania, which was dismissed by the lower court. The Third Circuit affirmed that dismissal in a scathing opinion.
“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy,” U.S. Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote at the start of a blistering opinion on Nov. 27, 2020. “Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
Giuliani’s testimony will resume on Tuesday.
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