A disciplinary panel of attorneys in Washington, DC has scheduled a hearing for October on charges that Rudy Giuliani violated attorneys’ ethics rules during lawsuits related to the 2020 election.
During a planning session Thursday, Robert Bernius, chairman of the hearing committee for the DC Bar Board of Professional Responsibility, said he plans to open the hearing on October 24 and has set aside two weeks for the proceedings, although a bar official who filed the ethics complaint against Giuliani said the case challenging his DC law permit would take just two days to present.
However, Bernius turned down a request from Giuliani’s lawyers to shorten the proceedings every day so that the former New York mayor and federal prosecutor could host his daily radio talk show on WABC-AM. Giuliani’s team said the radio show is currently his sole source of income since his right to practice law in New York was suspended by a court in June 2021.
Bernius, an attorney with Nixon Peabody’s DC office, said aborting the hearing at 2 p.m. each day to allow Giuliani to host his 3 p.m. show would extend the overall length of the proceedings and pose a challenge to the court reporters who transcribe the sessions.
Last month, the DC Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a formal ethics suit against Giuliani over his handling of a failed federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania shortly after the 2020 presidential election. The complaint said Giuliani had no evidence to back up his fraud allegations. support the presidential contest there and that his handling of the case interfered with the administration of justice.
Chief Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton TSWT previewed his case Thursday, arguing that giving observers insufficient access during the vote count was not an adequate basis for Giuliani to allege outright fraud, as he did during the federal court hearing in Nov in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“That’s not proof of fraud,” TSWT said during Thursday’s planning session, which was held via videoconference. “At best, that’s an opportunity to commit fraud, but it’s not fraud. I don’t think this hearing should be distracted from what I think is most important: whether or not there’s any evidence of actual fraud.”
One of Giuliani’s lawyers, Barry Kamins, also hinted on Thursday that the former mayor will defend that he joined the case at the last minute and must accept what he was told by local lawyers.
“He came in at eleven,” Kamins said. “He depended on other lawyers. He depended on the information he got and we all know that things move quickly in election matters.”
Sanctions for bar rules violations can range from a reprimand to suspension to suspension. The hearing, scheduled for a hearing before a Bar hearing in October, is just the first stage of the trial, which then goes to the full Bar Disciplinary Board and the DC Court of Appeals.