ALBANY — The New York State Bar Association said Monday it will launch an inquiry to determine whether Rudy Giuliani should be removed as a member for his role in last week’s attempt to block Congress’ certification of President Donald Trump’s election loss.
In announcing the process, the bar noted its bylaws state "no person who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States" shall be a member. It also called the Giuliani inquiry "historic" because it hasn't booted a lawyer who wasn't already disbarred since 1904.
The bar is a voluntary association and removal would not cause Giuliani to lose his law license. However, later Monday afternoon, State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) said he would file a formal complaint with the state's court system — which does have the power to revoke a law license — asking it to consider disbarment of the former New York mayor and Trump's personal attorney.
A Giuliani spokeswoman didn't immediately comment.
The New York State Bar Association, the largest legal trade association in the nation, said it has fielded numerous complaints about Giuliani bringing multiple lawsuits to undo the election results in several states. All of those claims are "without any evidentiary basis whatsoever," the group said.
Further, the bar said that although Trump is the "root cause of this abhorrent" riot at the Capitol last week, Giuliani played a key role with a speech he delivered to the mob in which he said: "Let's have trial by combat."
"Hours before the angry mob stormed the Capitol walls, Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, addressed a crowd of thousands at the White House, reiterating baseless claims of widespread election fraud in the presidential election and the Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs," the bar said.
The group said: "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. Their subsequent attack on the Capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power."
The bar, the professional organization for attorneys in New York, said Giuliani would have an opportunity to "explain and defend his actions."
The organization added: "This decision is historic for NYSBA, and we have not made it lightly. We cannot stand idly by and allow those intent on rending the fabric of our democracy to go unchecked."
Meanwhile, Hoylman, chairman of the State Senate Judiciary Committee, asked the courts to review Giuliani's law license "due to rampant and egregious violations of the rules of professional conduct related to his participation in a scheme to unlawfully" overturn the election and "inflaming a violent coup attempt on our seat of government."