Rudy Giuliani's Law License Suspended in New York Over False 2020 Election Claims

Giuliani's lawyers said in a statement that they were "disappointed" in the court's decision and that their client wasn't "afforded a hearing on the issues that are alleged"

Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

Rudy Giuliani's law license has been temporarily suspended in New York, and he has subsequently been removed from the New York Bar Association, over his support of Donald Trump's baseless claims about the 2020 election, PEOPLE confirms.

Giuliani, 77, now faces the possibility of being disbarred because of his false statements about Trump's loss to Joe Biden in November.

According to documents reviewed by PEOPLE, a New York appellate court ruled Thursday that Giuliani, who had served as Trump's personal lawyer throughout the post-election frenzy, made "demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large" related to the election, in which Trump lost to Biden by about seven million votes but nonetheless claimed it was somehow rigged.

The court's decision drew a direct line from what Giuliani said about the election to the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The court said "the seriousness of respondent's uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated" and that "this country is being torn apart" by false statements like Giuliani's that have "inflamed" tensions across the country.

Giuliani's lawyers, John Leventhal and Barry Kamins, said in a statement to PEOPLE that they were "disappointed" in the court's decision and that their client wasn't "afforded a hearing on the issues that are alleged."

Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani (center) and other Trump campaign lawyers at a November press conference. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

In the months after Trump, 75, lost, he and an eyebrow-raising mix of lawyers - spearheaded by Giuliani - mounted a media campaign and a series of legal challenges attacking the election, despite the lack of evidence.

The former prosecutor, New York City mayor and failed presidential candidate became a fierce Trump ally during the latter's 2016 election run and was later a central figure in the Ukraine scandal, which led to Trump's first impeachment.

Giuliani is separately facing a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, an election company that Trump's lawyers and allies targeted as part of their election claims.

He previously said of the suit: "The amount being asked for is, quite obviously, intended to frighten people of faint heart. It is another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left-wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech, as well as the ability of lawyers to defend their clients vigorously."

Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

In their decision this week, the appellate court found that Giuliani's "conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law" in the state.

"This is unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest," his lawyers said in their statement to PEOPLE. "We believe that once the issues are fully explored at a hearing Mr. Giuliani will be reinstated as a valued member of the legal profession that he has served so well in his many capacities for so many years."

But on Thursday, the New York State Bar Association also sent out its own statement announcing it had revoked Giuliani's membership.

"The New York State Bar Association is immediately removing Rudy Giuliani as a member of our association because of his suspension from the practice of law," the association said. "Nothing means more to us than the integrity of the profession and we applaud the work of the attorney disciplinary committee in safeguarding the public."

The association added that "it is equally important that we recognize the ongoing legal process and Rudy Giuliani's right to defend himself and that it "will await the completion of the disciplinary process before taking further action."

On Twitter, Giuliani continued tweeting conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attack and re-shared messages that criticized his suspension.

In a statement, Trump called him a "great American Patriot."

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