Colorado has censured Jenna Ellis, a lawyer for President Trump. People v. Ellis, 23 PDJ004. The disciplinary case was resolved by stipulation. According to the Court, “while serving as a senior legal advisor to then-President of the United States and as counsel for his reelection campaign, Jenna Lynn Ellis (“Respondent”) repeatedly made misrepresentations on national television and on Twitter, undermining the American public’s confidence in the 2020 presidential election.” The Court found that her conduct violated Rule 8.4(c) which prohibits a lawyer from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. Of note, Ellis did not act as counsel in any of the lawsuits Trump filed contesting the outcome of the election. Colorado has gone a step further than other courts and has condemned false public statements to the media.
“Respondent agrees she made the following ten misrepresentations:
On November 13, 2020, Respondent claimed that “Hillary Clinton still has not conceded the 2016 election.”
On November 20, 2020, Respondent appeared on Mornings with Maria on Fox Business and stated: “We have affidavits from witnesses, we have voter intimidation, we have the ballots that were manipulated, we have all kinds of statistics that show that this was a coordinated effort in all of these states to transfer votes either from Trump to Biden, to manipulate the ballots, to count them in secret . . .”
On November 20, 2020, Respondent appeared on Spicer & Co. and stated, “with all those states [Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia] combined we know that the election was stolen from President Trump and we can prove that.”
On November 21, 2020, Respondent stated on Twitter under her handle @JennaEllisEsq., “ . . . SECOND, we will present testimonial and other evidence IN COURT to show how this election was STOLEN!”
On November 23, 2020, Respondent appeared on The Ari Melber Show on MSNBC and stated, “The election was stolen and Trump won by a landslide.”
On November 30, 2020, Respondent appeared on Mornings with Maria on Fox Business and stated, “President Trump is right that there was widespread fraud in this election, we have at least six states that were corrupted, if not more, through their voting systems. . . We know that President Trump won in a landslide.” She also stated, “The outcome of this election is actually fraudulent it’s wrong, and we understand than when we subtract all the illegal ballots, you can see that President Trump actually won in a landslide.”
On December 3, 2020, Respondent appeared on Mornings with Maria on Fox Business and stated, “The outcome of this election is actually fraudulent it’s wrong, and we understand than when we subtract all the illegal ballots, you can see that President Trump actually won in a landslide.”
On December 5, 2020, Respondent appeared on Justice with Judge Jeanine on Fox News and stated, “We have over 500,000 votes [in Arizona] that were cast illegally . . .”
On December 15, 2020, Respondent appeared on Greg Kelly Reports on Newsmax and stated, “The proper and true victor, which is Donald Trump . . .”
On December 22, 2020, Respondent stated on Twitter, through her handle @JennaEllisEsq, “I spent an hour with @DanCaplis for an in-depth discussion about President @realDonaldTrump’s fight for election integrity, the overwhelming evidence proving this was stolen, and why fact-finding and truth—not politics—matters!”
Respondent made these misrepresentations on Twitter and on various television programs, including Fox Business, MSNBC, Fox News, and Newsmax.” Opinion page 2.
Comment: The opinions disciplining Trump’s lawyers, such as Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, along with the sanctions awards by various district courts, are one of the more important legal developments in the last few years. Lawyers who previously bore no risk of discipline must now tell the truth in public statements. This is, without question, an expansion of the reach of lawyer disciplinary regulators.
Ed Clinton, Jr.