▶ Watch Video: New York suspends Rudy Giuliani’s law license

Washington — A New York court said Thursday that Rudy Giuliani is suspended from practicing law in the state after it found he spread false information about the 2020 presidential election while serving as a lawyer for former President Trump and the Trump campaign, which “immediately threatens the public interest.”

The appeals court in New York said in its order there is “uncontroverted evidence” that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large” in the course of his efforts to overturn Mr. Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election.

“The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated,” the court said in the 33-page decision. “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.”

The court went on to warn that when such falsehoods are made by an attorney, it “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.”

The Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department in New York asked the court for an interim suspension of Giuliani’s license on the basis there is “uncontroverted evidence of professional misconduct,” relying on statements he made at press conferences and state legislative hearings, as well as during media interviews. 

While Giuliani argued an investigation into his conduct violates his First Amendment right of free speech, the court rejected that claim. He also argued he did not make the statements knowing they were false.

The court evaluated false comments Giuliani made casting doubt on the reliability of election results in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona. In addition to citing Giuliani’s comments in court proceedings and legislative hearings, the court also referenced his allegations during a well-publicized press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Pennsylvania just days after the November 3 election.

“We find that there is evidence of continuing misconduct, the underlying offense is incredibly serious, and the uncontroverted misconduct in itself will likely result in substantial permanent sanctions at the conclusion of these disciplinary proceedings,” the court said in its decision.

Giuliani is ordered to “desist and refrain from the practice of law in any form” until disciplinary matters pending before the grievance committee conclude. He can object to his suspension.