Left to Right: Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Joseph diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing.
Donald Trump scraped the bottom of the barrel to come up with this “D List” of Fox News commentator TV lawyers, who laughingly called themselves Trump’s “Elite Strike Force Team.”
Reminder: Trump and his allies are 2-34 in post-election court cases.
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) November 22, 2020
(Two minor “wins,” one of which was reversed on appeal)
In case you missed it, In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania:
U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann granted a request from Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to dismiss the suit, which alleged that Republicans had been illegally disadvantaged because some counties allowed voters to fix errors on their mail ballots.
The judge’s decision, which he explained in a scathing 37-page opinion, was a thorough rebuke of the president’s sole attempt to challenge the statewide result in Pennsylvania.
Brann wrote that Trump’s campaign had used “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” in its effort to throw out millions of votes.
“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state,” Brann wrote.
Giuliani personally took charge of the case and appeared at a hearing Tuesday in Williamsport, Pa., in an attempt to justify it. Five other attorneys who represented the president withdrew from the case.
Giuliani asked the judge for permission to restore the deleted claims about count observers in a proposed third version of the lawsuit, but his request was dismissed by Brann along with the rest of the campaign’s legal effort. The judge said Trump’s campaign did not have standing to bring the lawsuit but that even if it had standing it would have failed based on the merits of its case.
The suit’s dismissal left Trump without even a long-shot strategy for overturning his defeat to Biden in Pennsylvania, which the president has baselessly attributed to fraud.
The president’s defeat was the latest in setbacks that he has suffered in a scramble to overturn losses in key states including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin.
Judge Brann is a registered Republican and a former member of the conservative Federalist Society.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Trump confidant who helped prepare the president for the debates, called the conduct of Trump’s legal team a “national embarrassment.” Chris Christie calls the conduct of Trump’s legal team a ‘national embarrassment’:
In an interview on ABC News’s “This Week,” Christie said the president should give up his legal strategy. “Elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen,” he said.
“The conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” Christie added, noting that Trump’s lawyers have made a flurry of fraud allegations but have offered no evidence to back them up in court.
Christie criticized Trump’s lawyers for proffering false conspiracy theories at news conferences and other media appearances.
“They don’t do it in the courtroom,” the 2016 Republican presidential candidate said, suggesting the attorneys are fearful of making baseless arguments under oath before federal judges.
“It must mean the evidence doesn’t exist,” Christie said.
In fairness to Chris Christie, he is an expert in being a national embarrassment.😳https://t.co/0zZN3Kw2cH
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) November 22, 2020
Following the batshit crazy news conference above, over the weekend Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell Accuses Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Bernie Sanders of Complicity in Bonkers Voting Machine Conspiracy:
Sidney Powell appeared on Newsmax Saturday night, continuing to claim she has evidence that will blow this whole thing wide open, and again going after Tucker Carlson — who said he asked Powell for evidence and was rejected.
At one point, as she continued pushing the claim about the Dominion machines, she said “thousands” of people are probably complicit in this.
She went on to say that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp — a Republican — certifying that state’s results is a “total farce” and claimed, “Georgia’s probably going to be the first state I’m going to blow up.”
And then she accused Kemp of being complicit, even suggesting he was bribed:
“Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state need to go with it, because they’re in on the Dominion scam with their last-minute purchase or award of a contract to Dominion of $100 million. The state bureau of investigation for Georgia ought to be looking into financial benefits received by Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state’s family about that time.”
When asked if she’s really accusing an ally of the president of being involved in a conspiracy to defeat the president, Powell said, “We have certainly been told there is evidence of that.”
Minutes later, she even said that Bernie Sanders is somehow part of this vast conspiracy:
“They used ’em against their own candidates. The Democrats used them against Bernie Sanders in 2016, and somebody even told him what had been done to him when Hillary Clinton won that primary, and he didn’t. And instead of standing up for the American people and the right to vote, he sold out.”
Apparently this was too crazy even for “Elite Strike Force Team” leader Rudy Giuliani. Imagine being told that you’re too crazy by Rudy Giuliani. Trump Lawyers Put Out Statement Throwing Sidney Powell Under The Bus After She Pushes Insane Voter Fraud Conspiracy:
President Donald Trump’s lawyers put out a statement on Sunday evening distancing themselves from fellow attorney Sidney Powell after she pushed absurd conspiracy theories claiming widespread voter fraud. For a legal team who has called themselves an “elite strike force” but whose results are most charitably described as blundering, Powell’s recent commentary apparently went a step too far, sparking a very public split.
But I thought she was part of "an elite strike force team that is working on behalf of the president and the campaign." https://t.co/SLDWtQFusE
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) November 22, 2020
Wait for it …. and the infighting begins! Attorney Sidney Powell Responds To Trump Team Distancing Themselves From Her: ‘#KrakenOnSteroids’:
Attorney Sidney Powell, who on Sunday night was tossed under the bus by President Donald Trump’s lawyers Jenna Ellisand Rudy Giuliani, responded by releasing a statement saying that she will continue to represent the “#WeThePeople” — and adding at the end of her statement the hashtag “#KrakenOnSteroids.”
Powell appeared undeterred after the Trump Legal Team distanced themselves from her, while pledging to continue fighting against what she alleges of widespread voter fraud occurring during the 2020 election due to the vote-counting machines. Powell has so far failed to provide any evidence backing her claims.
“I understand today’s press release,” Powell told CBS News. “I will continue to represent #WeThePeople who had their votes for Trump and other Republicans stolen by massive fraud through Dominion and Smartmatic, and we will be filing suit soon. The chips will fall where they may, and we will defend the foundations of this great Republic. #KrakenOnSteroids”
Powell has not made any comment on Twitter, but that may be because her account has been suspended for violating its rules.
Mark Leibovich writes at the New York Times, Trump’s Legal Team Sets a Precedent for Lowering the Bar (excerpt):
Mr. Trump’s campaign keeps getting routed in case after case. Challenges keep getting tossed out by exasperated judges. Entire legal teams have quit en masse. Claims better suited to random Twitter feeds (or the president’s) have been laughed out of court after court.
* * *
“I have to say, it’s been strange,” said Mark Aronchick, a veteran Philadelphia lawyer who is representing four Pennsylvania counties against the Trump campaign’s challenge. “We have a robust legal system where we’re trained to focus on evidence and precedent. And then you go into a court of law and suddenly Rudy Giuliani is talking like he’s in the driveway of Four Seasons Total Landscaping.” (Four Seasons was the site of a Giuliani news conference on Nov. 7 in Philadelphia, between a crematory and an adult book shop, where the former mayor announced that Mr. Trump would not concede.)
Like Mr. Aronchick, a bipartisan array of lawyers, judges and constitutional scholars have observed this spectacle with a mix of horror and some amusement. “Watching the clown car level of face-palm incompetence here is embarrassing for the participants,” said Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He went on to describe the Trump legal team as “Keystone Kops” whose arguments have been “slapstick stupid.”
“I’ve had law students that I’ve given a D to in constitutional law that would do a better job in court than Rudy Giuliani,” Mr. Levitt said. “This would all be very funny if it wasn’t so serious.”
Rudy Giuliani is still under investigation by the FBI for foreign election interference for his escapades with Lev and Igor in Ukraine, peddling Russian disinformation.
In recent weeks, FBI agents in New York contacted witnesses & asked new questions about Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine & possible connections to Russian intelligence, the sources said. https://t.co/zpKWlF9CGb
— Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) November 19, 2020
Albert Fox Cahn, a lawyer, explains why he has filed a bar complaint against Rudy Giuliani. It’s Time to Take Away Rudy’s Law License (excerpt):
All lawyer jokes aside, legal ethics are a big deal, not least because they are indispensable to a functioning court system. If lawyers can lie without consequence, making up facts whenever they want, then our trials and hearings will become farces.
And that’s exactly what happened in Pennsylvania on Monday, as Rudy talked about everything from Rahm Emanuel’s theory of crisis management to President Carter’s “prophetic” warnings about mail-in voter fraud and a tirade against supposed “mafia-like” behavior by Philadelphia election officials—none of it related to the legal case he was supposed to be making.
[L]ying about his own credentials was the prelude to the real fireworks: Rudy’s lies, unsupported by any facts he introduced to the court, about the election itself. Among other lies, Rudy claimed that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania ballots were counted without Republican observers. False. He claimed over one million votes were cast illegally in Pennsylvania. False. And he even said “they” (presumably President-elect Biden and his campaign) “stole” the election through widespread, national voter fraud. False.
* * *
That’s why Tuesday night I sat down and filled out my first legal ethics complaint, asking New York’s Attorney Grievance Committee to investigate one Rudolph William Louis Giuliani. Maybe they’ll throw it in the trashcan, maybe they’ll take it seriously, but either way it’s time for the legal profession to respond.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) agrees. New Jersey Lawmaker Pushes To Disbar Rudy Giuliani For Deceitful, ‘Absurd’ Election Cases:
New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell has filed a complaint with New York’s attorney disciplinary officials, calling for the disbarment of Rudy Giuliani for “fraud” and “deceit” in his actions attempting to overturn the presidential election without any justification.
“Mr. Giuliani has participated in the filing of a series of absurd lawsuits seeking to overturn the will of the voters … and has caused irreversible damage to the public trust in the fair administration of our elections,” Pascrell wrote Friday to the Grievance Committee for three New York Judicial Districts.
He accused Giuliani, who is leading Donald Trump’s attack on the results of the presidential election, of “clearly” violating the state’s Rules of Professional Misconduct that prohibit “dishonesty, fraud, deceit” and “misrepresentations.”
He “should face the severest sanction your body can mete out: revocation of his law license,” Pascrell added.
New York also prohibits attorneys from filing frivolous lawsuits.
Here is a copy of my complaint to the New York State judicial conduct body calling for Rudy Giuliani’s law license to be stripped. Similar letters were sent to four other states against Trump lawyers. pic.twitter.com/NkwfmYVOnM
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@PascrellforNJ) November 20, 2020
Pascrell filed similar complaints in New York and other states against 22 other lawyers involved in the Trump assault on the vote.
“The pattern of behavior by these individuals to effectuate Mr. Trump’s sinister arson is a danger not just to our legal system but is also unprecedented in our national life,” he wrote in those complaints.
Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr, D-NJ, has filed Bar complaints against Rudy Giuliani and 22 other Trump campaign lawyers, including four in Arizona. You can read the Arizona complaint against here: https://t.co/auWgluhMLT pic.twitter.com/Qs6l0220Uc
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) November 22, 2020
Here is the Arizona Bar Complaint letter referenced above (footnotes deleted). Arizona lawyers equally distressed by how Trump’s lawyers have engaged in unethical conduct and brought disrepute on the legal profession should feel free to file their own bar complaints.
State Bar of Arizona
4201 N. 24th Street Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85016-6266
To Whom It May Concern:
I write you today to file a complaint against Kory Langhofer (Arizona Bar No. 024722) and
Thomas Basile (Bar No. 031150) of the law firm Statecraft (649 North Fourth Avenue, First Floor,
Phoenix, Arizona 85003); and Brett Johnson (Bar No. 021527) and Eric H. Spencer (Bar No.
022707) of the law firm Snell and Wilmer LLP (One Arizona Center 400 East Van Buren Suite
1900, Phoenix, Arizona 85004). In their capacity as attorneys representing the presidential
campaign of Donald Trump, these individuals have filed frivolous lawsuits and used your state’s
courts to assault public confidence in our nation’s electoral system, violating the Arizona Rules of
Professional Conduct. Therefore, I request your office commence an immediate investigation of
their actions and consider sanctions for their conduct up to and including revocation of their
licenses to practice law in your jurisdiction.
As of today, President-elect Joe Biden has won the state of Arizona by 10,457 votes, or
approximately 0.31 percent, an outcome there is virtually no chance of reversing in a recount.
Despite the difficult circumstances of this pandemic, Arizona’s administration of the election was
strong and there is no evidence of systematic malfeasance or fraud. Nevertheless, these attorneys
have filed a series of absurd lawsuits seeking to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters and caused
irreversible damage to public trust in the fair administration of our elections.
The Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct necessarily govern the actions of your licensed
attorneys. Mr. Langhofer, Mr. Basile, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Spencer may have violated Rule of
Professional Conduct 3.1 which requires that “[a] lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding,
or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a good faith basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which may include a good faith and nonfrivolous argument for an
extension, modification or reversal of existing law.” These individuals may have also violated
Rule 8.4(c) which posits that “it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to…[e]ngage in conduct
involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”
We live together in extraordinary and increasingly dangerous national circumstances. At present,
our sitting President has refused to accept the outcome of our national election and is attacking the
integrity of our electoral system to keep himself in power. The pattern of behavior by these
individuals to effectuate Mr. Trump’s sinister arson is a danger not just to our legal system but is
also unprecedented in our national life. In carrying out that perversion, they have clearly violated
the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct they swore to uphold and should face the severest
sanction your body can mete out: revocation of their law licensures. The holding of a law license
is a sacred responsibility. You have an opportunity here to make a powerful statement in support
of our democracy and deter future charlatans and miscreants from warping our legal and political
systems for their own profit. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
United States Congressman