Prominent lawyers who helped fuel Donald Trump’s baseless charges of election fraud to try and thwart Joe Biden’s win, are now facing potentially serious legal and financial problems of their own tied to their aggressive echoing of Trump’s false election claims, say former Department of Justice lawyers and legal experts.
They include a federal investigation into the Capitol attack by a pro-Trump mob, possible disbarment and a defamation lawsuit.
Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who led Trump’s conspiratorial drive to overturn the election and gave an incendiary talk to the Trump rally right before the march on the Capitol began, could be ensnared in a federal probe of the attack and is facing a disbarment complaint in New York.
Pro-Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Cleta Mitchell have, respectively, been hit with a defamation lawsuit for making false claims, and losing her law firm post after coming under scrutiny for her work promoting Trump’s false claims.
“I never saw allegations of misconduct that I think are as seriously unethical as the conduct of lawyers who have been propounding the false claims of President Trump,” said Mary McCord, who led the DoJ’s national security division at the end of the Obama administration until May 2017, and also served for six years on the DC Circuit’s Grievance Committee.
Giuliani, a former New York mayor and ex federal prosecutor who led Trump’s ad hoc legal team, seems to be the most endangered of Trump’s lawyers.
Without offering evidence, Giuliani told Trump’s Save America rally in DC before the Capitol attack that “I’m willing to stake my reputation, the president is willing to stake his reputation, on the fact that we’re going to find criminality there.” And he pointedly said, “Let’s have trial by combat.”.
The day after the mob attack which led to five deaths, Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney for Washington DC, publicly launched an investigation into the riot, and signaled he would be looking at numerous participants including instigators which could implicate Trump and Giuliani for their roles in inciting the attack.
McCord said Giuliani seems to have crossed the legal red lines in advising Trump after Giuliani left a detailed voice message at the wrong office for Alabama’s newly elected senator Tommy Tuberville on 6 January about how to “slow down” the electoral college vote.
Read more of Peter Stone’s report here: Lawyers face fallout from fueling Trump’s false claims of election fraud