Giuliani ethics case defense features prominent election deniers – including Doug Mastriano

Zoe Tillman
Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — Rudy Giuliani intends to defend himself against a legal ethics prosecution in Washington by calling a string of witnesses who promoted baseless claims that the 2020 election was marred by widespread fraud.

A witness list submitted Friday by his lawyers to the hearing committee that will consider his case in early December features prominent conservative lawyers and activists who backed then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” effort to undo Joe Biden’s victories in key states.

Giuliani’s proposed witnesses include Doug Mastriano the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania; Christina Bobb, a lawyer recently in the spotlight for her connection to a federal criminal inquiry into Trump’s handling of government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort; former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis; former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi; former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, former Trump 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.

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Then U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Save America Rally on the Ellipse on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 near the White House in Washington, D.C. Giuliani intends to defend himself against a legal ethics prosecution in Washington by calling a string of witnesses who promoted baseless claims that the 2020 election was marred by widespread fraud. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

Giuliani’s lawyers, John Leventhal and Barry Kamins, both retired judges, didn’t immediately return a request for comment on whether all of the witnesses they identified had agreed to testify. Mastriano, Bobb, Ellis, Bondi, Navarro, Lewandowski, Kerik or their representatives didn’t immediately return requests for comment on Friday night.

Giuliani’s case focuses on his role in pursuing a failed post-election challenge in federal court in Pennsylvania. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel accused him of pressing a “frivolous” claim. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York and U.S. attorney, responded to the allegations in July, arguing there was “good faith basis” to contest mail-in ballots at the time.

The witness list includes short descriptions of what his lawyers say they expect each person to testify about. Subjects include interviews with “people who witnessed voting irregularities and allegations of fraud”; purported exclusion of Republican poll watchers; and “voting irregularities and alleged illegalities.”

Former president Donald Trump, on left, listening to Doug Mastriano, PA gubernatorial candidate, on right, speaking at the Save America rally at the Mohegan Sun Casey Arena in Wilkes-Barre, P.A. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

The witness list has 17 names, including Giuliani himself. The disciplinary counsel’s office, the ethics enforcement arm of the District of Columbia Bar, submitted a three-person witness list, saying it planned to call Giuliani and two lawyers hired to analyze the claims that the former mayor pursued in the Pennsylvania litigation.

A New York state court previously suspended Giuliani’s license to practice law in that state.