Reacting to a New York court’s suspension of Rudy Giuliani’s law license, Alan Dershowitz has strongly implied that the tendency to weaponize the legal system against political foes could be a mortal blow to the concept of equal justice for all.
“The atmosphere is such today that if you defended President Trump in any way, they’re out to get you. And they’re certainly out to get Rudy Giuliani,” free speech advocate Dershowitz also declared.
The constitutional law scholar and retired Ivy league professor also insisted that the judges’ ruling to put Giuliani’s license to practice his profession on hold without a hearing and without the opportunity to present opposing evidence runs counter to traditional due process standards, especially given the history of lawyers — prosecutors, defense attorneys, and civil attorneys alike — of prevaricating (or lying “through their teeth”) all the time in and out of court.
According to the five-judge panel in the deep blue state, the ex-NYC mayor made “false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large” when he represented President Donald Trump in challenging the outcome of Election 2020.
As alluded to above, the court’s action isn’t sitting well with civil liberties champion Dershowitz, a lifelong Democrat who voted for Biden and who was on President Trump’s defense team in the first impeachment trial, as he explained to John Catsimatidis, the host of “The Cats Roundtable” podcast which is also broadcast on WABC radio in New York City.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 25, 2021
Disciplinary action, in New York or in another jurisdiction, against an attorney is usually a drawn-out process and seldom results in an attorney being permanently sanctioned.
“I taught legal ethics for…35 years at Harvard Law school. I think of myself as a leading expert on legal ethics… I’ve never, ever seen a case…where a lawyer was essentially disbarred…without a hearing,” which runs roughshod over a person’s basic due process rights, he asserted.
Dershowitz also alluded to the portion of the ruling in which the court indicates that Giuliani’s license is likely, in the end, to be revoked entirely.
“And then the criteria under which they suspended his law license is so vague. It says in the course of representing a client, a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of fact or law to a third person.
“In other words, if he goes on your show, or he goes on my podcast, or he goes on Fox or anywhere else, and he makes a statement which turns out to be false, and he knew or had reason to believe it was false, he could be disbarred. Do you know how many lawyers we would have left if we applied that standard across the board?”
Listen to the entire interview embedded below and draw your own conclusions:
Dershowitz underscored that most of the statements that the appellate court took exception to were made in the media rather than in formal court proceedings, which further raises questions about the basis for the suspension.
“The idea of holding lawyers to this standard of truth-telling when they’re on television is a whole new ballgame. It will chill free speech; it will chill advocacy,” Dershowitz warned.
When Catsimatidis asked him about the viability of the words equal justice for all given the Giuliani case, Prof. Dershowitz was less-than optimistic, although he is nonetheless hopeful that a higher court will overturn the suspension.
“I think they’re mortally wounded. I don’t think we’re seeing equal justice for all. I think we’re seeing selective justice…When a prosecutor runs for office, like the attorney general of New York ran for office on the promise that she will get Donald Trump, is that equal justice? Or is that ‘show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime’?”
With the latter rhetorical question, Dershowitz was referring to a quote attributed to Lavrentiy Beria, who was the head of Joseph Stalin’s secret police in the former Soviet Union,
Dershowitz also warned that this kind of selective, politicized prosecution could boomerang against others across the ideological spectrum.
‘Whether you’re a Democrat or a conservative or a liberal or progressive or anybody, you should be concerned about this Giuliani decision because today it’s used against Giuliani. Tomorrow, it will be used against radical lawyers on the left. It will be used against other conservative lawyers. It will be used against Democrats. It will be used against Republicans,” he cautioned.
Political retaliation in the form of selective prosecution or as a “weapon of oppression” is “what happens in banana republics…in tyrannical regimes,” Dershowitz added, echoing similar sentiments he made when the FBI staged an early morning raid on Giuliani’s New York City apartment last month.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 3, 2021
In the meantime, former NYC police commissioner Bernie Kerik has set up a defense fund to help the ex-mayor with legal bills.
In an attempt to assist @RudyGiuliani to defend himself from frivolous lawsuits, a weaponized Justice Department, and the New York Bar, we have created the Rudy Giuliani Freedom Fund. This is the official Defense Fund for this American Patriot. https://t.co/m7cN3A4MmN
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) June 26, 2021
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