The biggest Big Liars of 2021 mostly have their hands full answering subpoenas these days. But the ones who are officers of the court get to go into overtime with their state bars in a battle to hang onto their licenses to practice law. In that vein, Rudy Giuliani and former Assistant Attorney General Jeff “We’ll Call You When There’s an Oil Spill” Clark are going mano a mano to file the most wackass defense to the DC bar’s disciplinary proceedings.
As flagged by Bloomberg’s Zoe Tillman, Giuliani, who is fending off allegations that he filed a frivolous election lawsuit in Pennsylvania — which he most certainly did — already cited Dinesh D’Souza’s hilariously discredited film “2000 Mules” in support of his claim that he had a rational basis for believing that the election had been stolen in 2020. And yesterday he submitted his witness list for the hearing, making it clear that like he’d like to take this opportunity to relitigate his claims of massive election fraud.
“Rudolph W. Giuliani will testify that he had a reasonable basis to make the arguments that he made on behalf of his client then President Trump in the Pennsylvania litigation,” his lawyers write. But they’d also like a whole bunch of other lawyers to repeat allegations which have already been debunked — and they’d like it to be under oath.
According to Rudy, Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general, and Katharine Friess and Jeremy Mercer, lawyers who participated in the post-election litigation, will testify that they personally witnessed Republican inspectors and poll watchers excluded from inspecting any ballots. The problem is that it did not happen like that. At all. And as we’ve seen in Trump’s warrant case, most lawyers who aren’t named Rudy Giuliani are less willing to repeat under oath the stories that they freely spew on Fox News.
Interestingly, Rudy’s sidekick Jenna Ellis, who was subpoenaed by a grand jury in Georgia, will only testify “that she was the number two lawyer on the then President Trump’s Pennsylvania litigation team.” And former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who has already seen the inside of a locked prison cell, will only say under oath “that he was one of the chief investigators into the irregularities and allegations of fraud in the Pennsylvania Presidential election and in the subject litigation.”
“Respondent’s Counsel submits this list of the witnesses that counsel intends to call on behalf of Respondent,” Rudy’s lawyers write. “It is believed that they will testify as indicated.”
Whether that is upon information and belief, or upon a wing and a prayer has yet to be determined.
So, can Jeff Clark out-crazy the undisputed king of the parking lot at Four Seasons Total Landscaping?
Yes, he can! And not just because he’s represented by John Eastman’s lawyer James Burnham, while Rudy’s got two retired judges signing his documents.
Because the former Justice Department official accused of attempting to abuse his office to announce non-existent investigations into voter fraud as a pretext for swing state legislatures to claw back Biden’s electoral votes has a spiffy new theory as to why the DC Bar ain’t his daddy.
In a complaint in the federal court in DC, once again flagged by Zoe Tillman, he’s alleging that the DC Court of Appeals cannot adjudicate his conduct because he was a federal officer when it was undertaken.
Now before we all go haring off, there is precedent for state courts and bar associations being able to discipline federal government attorneys. But because the DC Court of Appeals was created by Congress, Clark and Burnham argue that it’s an Article I court, and thus it violates the separation of powers for the DC Bar to discipline Jeff Clark.
As an Article I court, the DCCA has no, or at best only limited authority to supervise the conduct of attorneys who conduct the business of the federal government, 28 U.S.C. § 530B, and like Congress itself, the DCCA has no authority whatsoever to discipline a federal counselor to the President based on Disciplinary Counsel’s own—or congressional—disagreement with the substance or development of advice and recommendations concerning Department of Justice law enforcement policy.
He also has some interesting theories as to why removal to federal court is timely, despite the DC Bar filing charges against him in July.
There is no analogue to an “arraignment” in the District’s disciplinary process, so that 30-day period referenced in Section 1455(b)(1) is wholly irrelevant here. This removal is thus timely under Section 1455(b)(1) because no trial has yet occurred and thus this is indisputably a pretrial removal.
Well, points for creativity we guess. Unfortunately Sidney Powell’s disciplinary proceedings are taking place in Texas, so we can’t know how she’d fare in this derp-off. But congratulations to both worthy contenders in this ignominious contest.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.