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Rudy Giuliani outside his apartment building in Manhattan. Source: Andrew Kelly/Reuters.
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  • Rudy Giuliani has his New York law licence suspended over claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump
  • The court’s Appellate Division said the claims could damage public confidence in the election process as well as the wider legal profession
  • Giuliani called the suspension “a one-sided decision not based on evidence” and vowed to “fight back”
  • His other legal problems include a US$1.3 billion (A$1.71 billion) lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems and a probe into his Ukraine dealings
  • Eighteen devices were seized in raids on April 28 at Giuliani’s home and office for the Ukraine investigation

Rudy Giuliani had his New York law licence suspended on Thursday after a state appeals court found he had lied in arguing that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from his client, former US President Donald Trump.

Giuliani, 77, was stripped for making “demonstrably false and misleading” assertions that rampant voter fraud had undermined the election.

Citing the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, the Appellate Division said Giuliani’s eagerness to make false claims “immediately threatens the public interest” and could damage public confidence in the election process as well as the wider legal profession.

“This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden,” the court said.

“Where, as here, the false statements are being made by (Giuliani), acting with the authority of being an attorney, and using his large megaphone, the harm is magnified.”

Speaking to reporters outside his home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Giuliani called the suspension “a one-sided decision not based on evidence”.

“I fight back. That’s what I do,” he said.

“I go to court and I prove what I’m telling you in court. There are appellate courts. This isn’t yet a dictatorship.”

The Republican also blamed Democrats for his growing legal troubles, which include his dealings in Ukraine. He said dozens of witnesses could back up his election fraud claims.

In a statement, Trump expressed disbelief that Giuliani could be barred for fighting for what he said “has already been proven to be a fraudulent election”.

The appeals court said Giuliani’s temporary suspension could become permanent after a hearing by the attorney grievance committee that recommended it.

Giuliani’s other legal problems extend to a US$1.3 billion (A$1.71 billion) lawsuit in which Dominion Voting Systems accused him of defamation for claiming its machines had helped flip votes to Biden for Trump.

Federal prosecutors are also examining his activities in Ukraine, specifically whether he violated lobbying laws while working as Trump’s lawyer.

Eighteen devices, including mobile phones and computers, were seized in raids on April 28 at Giuliani’s home and office for the Ukraine investigation. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.

The appeals court said he had made numerous false statements about voting in a number of different states, and highlighted a Pennsylvania court hearing on November 17 where Giuliani alleged widespread voter fraud. His formal written complaint on Trump’s behalf, however, made no mention of those claims.

The court also criticised Giuliani’s unsubstantiated claims of voting by dead people, including boxing heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, who died in 2011.

“There is evidence of continuing misconduct, the underlying offense is incredibly serious, and the uncontroverted misconduct in itself will likely result in substantial permanent sanctions,” the court said.

Brian Faughnan, a Tennessee lawyer specialising in attorney disciplinary proceedings, said suspensions like Giuliani’s often affected lawyers who had committed crimes or stolen client money.

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