Rudy Giuliani has been suspended from practising law in New York after a state court found he had made false and misleading statements while representing Donald Trump in a failed effort to overturn last year’s presidential election.
The ruling from the New York state appeals court on Thursday means Giuliani will be prohibited from practising law in his home state for the first time in more than 50 years, dealing another blow to the reputation of a man who was once a serious contender for US president.
The court stated in its ruling: “[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 re-election in 2020.
“These false statements were made to improperly bolster [the] respondent’s narrative that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from his client. We conclude that [the] respondent’s conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.”
Giuliani did not respond to a request to comment. Trump issued a statement of support for Giuliani following the decision: “The greatest mayor in the history of New York City, the Eliot Ness of his generation, one of the greatest crime fighters our country has ever known, and this is what the Radical Left does to him.”
Giuliani enjoyed a glittering legal career after being admitted to the New York bar in 1969, serving as associate attorney-general in the Reagan administration and as US attorney for the Southern District of New York.
He came to international prominence as mayor of New York and was lauded for his response to the 9/11 attacks. But more recently he has been better known as Trump’s personal lawyer and ally, fronting the campaign to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in November’s election.
During that campaign Giuliani regularly appeared on rightwing news channels falsely accusing voting machine companies, among others, of having helped steal the election from Trump. His comments at that time have already triggered a lawsuit from Dominion, one of the voting companies in question, which is seeking $1.3bn in damages for alleged defamation.
Giuliani is also under investigation by New York prosecutors over his business dealings in Ukraine, and his home and office were searched by federal agents last month.
The New York court found in Thursday’s ruling that Giuliani had made misleading statements on a range of topics.
They include misstating the number of absentee ballots sent out in Pennsylvania, falsely telling a court that Trump was pursuing a fraud claim related to the election when he was not and wrongly claiming that the boxer Joe Frazier was still voting in Philadelphia despite having died in 2011.
“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 wrote.
“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.”
Giuliani’s suspension will apply until more formal disciplinary hearings are held, the court said, although he can appeal the suspension before that.