One question that has been asked is whether there will be any serious professional consequences for Trump’s legal team repeating unfounded claims that they cannot stand in court. Yan Wolf looked at this to Reuters and the answer is probably not.
Rep. Bill Baskrel Friday called to Rudy Giuliani And other members of Trump’s legal team to strip them of their legal licenses to file “frivolous” lawsuits, but legal ethics experts say attorney discipline is relatively rare, especially in politically charged disputes.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have statutory codes of ethics for attorneys drawn from standards published by the American Bar Association.
A rule of the American Bar Association states that attorneys should confirm a case in court only if there is “a legal and realistic basis for doing so that is not a trivial matter.” Separately, there are rules that prohibit lawyers from making false statements to third parties and engaging in deceptive behavior.
Giuliani repeatedly made baseless allegations at press conferences and media appearances about election fraud..
During a hearing on November 17, he initially told a Pennsylvania judge that the election was marred by fraud. However, while examining Judge Matthew Bran, Giuliani retracted this unproven claim, admitting that “this is not a case of fraud.”
Other members of Trump’s legal team have generally made narrower claims in court. There is a reason for this dissonance between what the campaign says inside and outside the courtroom, said Vivian Scott, attorney at Frankfurt Cornet Klein & Sales in New York.
“We, as attorneys, are court officers,” Scott said. “We are obligated to issue statements that have no basis in the truth.”
On Twitter and in media appearances, Giuliani and the lawyer Sydney Powell Brian Vaughan, a Tennessee-based attorney and ethics specialist, said he appeared to have broken rules that prevent them from making dishonest statements. The Trump campaign has since said that Powell is no longer represented.
Vaughan said Giuliani acted unethically when he tweeted on November 22 that there were “PHANTOM VOTERS” in the Detroit area. This tweet appears to refer to an aggravating statement by a cybersecurity analyst, filed in court, that made a fatal flaw: He confused data from Minnesota with data from Michigan.
Two days earlier, attorney Lyn Wood, who provided the affidavit, admitted he was wrong and needed correction.
Vaughan said Giuliani either knew his tweet was wrong, or it was reasonable to know that it was wrong. “At the time he tweeted that, the bug was being discussed publicly,” Vaughan said. President Donald Trump He also later posted this false testimony on social media.
Despite these apparent moral lapses, Vaughan said he does not expect action against Giuliani and Powell. Vaughan said that investigators have limited resources and will focus on more direct violations such as attorneys who steal from clients.
Vaughan said investigators would also be wary of punishing lawyers when it comes to politics. “When the issue is so politically charged, you know that the first line of defense will be, ‘You’re only doing this to us because of our policy,’” Vaughan said.