Bar Association Launches Probe Into Disqualifying Rudy Giuliani After 'Trial by Combat' Speech

The New York State Bar Association launched an inquiry into disqualifying Rudy Giuliani's membership on Monday.

The probe from NYSBA President Scott M. Karson came after Giuliani's "trial by combat" speech was made hours before Wednesday's deadly attack on the Capitol.

"We must address the root cause of this abhorrent incident, the blame for which lies first and foremost with President Donald Trump," said Susan DeSantis, the NYSBA's chief communications strategist, in a Monday release.

DeSantis added that "the president did not act alone" and said that Giuliani, his personal attorney, addressed the crowd at the Stop the Steal rally hours before the riot and was also partly to blame.

During his speech, Giuliani reiterated baseless claims that widespread election fraud affected the outcome of the presidential election. He also said Trump supporters should fight the results.

"Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. If we're wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we're right a lot of them will go to jail," said Giuliani. "Let's have trial by combat."

"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," Giuliani added.

Rudy Giuliani Appears Before Michigan State Legislature's
A probe into disqualifying Rudy Giuliani's membership was launched by New York State Bar Association on Monday following his "trial by combat" speech before the deadly Capitol riot last week. Here he's seen in a meeting of the Michigan House Oversight Committee on December 2, 2020, in Lansing, Michigan. Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images/Getty

The NYSBA's bylaws state that "no person who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or any state, territory or possession thereof, or of any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means, shall be a member of the Association."

"Mr. Giuliani's words quite clearly were intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election's outcome to take matters into their own hands," wrote DeSantis. "Their subsequent attack on the Capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power."

Karson told Newsweek on Monday that NYSBA bylaws outline procedures for the investigation, and Giuliani will be granted those procedures. However, Karson noted that the association cannot disbar Giuliani, taking away his ability to practice law—that power resides in the New York State.

Prior to the announcement of the investigation, Democratic Representatives Ted Lieu and Mondaire Jones urged the Association to disqualify Giuliani in a letter sent on Saturday.

"We request that your office open an immediate investigation into the President's attorney for his statements calling for a 'trial by combat' preceding a violent insurrection at the Capitol in which five people died, including a U.S. Capitol Police Officer, and Members of Congress and the Vice President were credibly threatened with violence," the letter said.

Giuliani also faces having his honorary degree from Middlebury College, given in 2005, revoked as a result of his alleged involvement in the riot.

Meanwhile more than 5,700 lawyers and law students have signed a petition to disbar Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. The petition claims the senators also led efforts to undermine a fair election.