Trump lawyers defend false election claims in court: NPR

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Rudy Giuliani points to a map as he speaks to the press about several lawsuits related to the 2020 election on November 19, 2020. He and other Trump attorneys are now under scrutiny for their role in promoting false claims of voter fraud .



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Rudy Giuliani points to a map as he speaks to the press about several lawsuits related to the 2020 election on November 19, 2020. He and other Trump attorneys are now under scrutiny for their role in promoting false claims of voter fraud .

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Six months after the violent attack on the US Capitol, lawyers promoting former President Donald Trump’s false allegations of voter fraud are being forced to defend their actions in court.

But some experts say the abuses of the past four years are forcing the legal profession to investigate more deeply.

“If we want to reset, I just think it’s important that our profession is willing to confront itself and make decisions about who we want to be, who we are and what it needs, what might be uncomfortable, to make sure we keep our character,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, at an event sponsored by the New York University School of Law.

Ifill, who used to teach aspiring lawyers about their roles and responsibilities as “officers of the court,” has called for an independent commission to make a full report of how lawyers have lost their way.

Until now, there has been little public interest in that kind of self-examination. Instead, judges and disciplinary panels of lawyers conduct their own investigations, case by case, in a methodical manner.

This week, Michigan District Judge Linda Parker spoke to attorneys close to Trump about the actions they took before filing a lawsuit alleging irregularities in the 2020 election.

“What authority did this court have to invalidate the election results?” Parker asked.

The city of Detroit wants those lawyers to face sanctions. At the hearing, Detroit attorney David Fink called their lawsuit sloppy, careless and “an embarrassment to the legal profession.”

Preet Bharara, the former US attorney for New York’s Southern District, has followed the election results with interest.

“You’re making a mistake in court — first, don’t do that,” Bharara said. “And if you do, correct it immediately. There’s nothing worse.’

But at the Michigan hearing, some attorneys under investigation took a different approach.

One of them, attorney Lin Wood, said he had not read the complaint before it was filed. Another attorney with ties to Trump, Sidney Powell, said she took “full responsibility” for the paperwork. Powell told the judge she had exercised the law to the highest standards.

Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell will leave Federal Court in Washington on June 24.

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Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell will leave Federal Court in Washington on June 24.

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Meanwhile, authorities in New York recently licensed the law from Rudy Giuliani. suspended, Trump’s former personal attorney.

They said Giuliani had “demonstrably communicated false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public” while trying to reverse the election results.

Giuliani wants a hearing, where his attorneys John Leventhal and Barry Kamins said they believe he will be reinstated “as a valued member of the legal profession he has served so well in his many capacities over so many years.”

George Conway, a lawyer who regularly criticizes Trump and the lawyers who worked for him, said the rules are quite simple.

“If you’re making a claim, you have to be able to back it up,” Conway said. “You can’t make things up.”

Conway famously turned down a top job with the Trump Justice Department, calling it “probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”

But Conway said many of those lawyers who served in the Trump years deserve credit for refusing to put forward false theories about voter fraud this year.

“The higher echelons of the Justice Department in the waning weeks of the administration basically refused to do what Trump wanted them to do and they essentially made a bureaucratic suicide pact,” where they agreed to quit in protest if Trump tried. head of the Justice Department over election matters, Conway said.

Trump withdrew.

Attorney Lin Wood, who was a member of former President Donald Trump’s legal team, speaks at a December 2020 meeting in Alpharetta, Georgia. He is one of the lawyers who must now defend their actions surrounding the 2020 presidential election.

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There are lawyers who believe that the legal profession should do much more to counter widespread violations of norms and rules – misleading courts, lawmakers and the public.

For her part, Ifill said elite institutions, including the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association, in recent years have mostly failed to step up when that happened.

“What happens when lawyers, especially in a position of responsibility, such as government attorneys or I would even say partners of law firms, take positions… or go so close to the edge of the rules that they may re-introduce the rules in ways that the core of what the profession should be about?” she asked.

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