Censured for ‘Misrepresentations’ About a ‘Stolen’ Election, a Former Trump Lawyer Insists She Never Lied
Two weeks after the 2020 presidential election, three Trump campaign lawyers held a bizarre press conference that laid bare the lunacy of the president’s claim that systematic fraud had denied him a second term. Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani described an elaborate criminal conspiracy involving Dominion Voting Systems, tricky software, phony ballots, election officials across the country, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, and “communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China.”
Compared to Powell and Giuliani, the third lawyer, Jenna Ellis, seemed relatively sane, urging patience as the campaign’s post-election lawsuits worked their way through the courts. But as Ellis conceded in a statement released on Wednesday, she joined Powell and Giuliani in making false claims about election fraud, even if she did so less frequently and flamboyantly.
In response to a complaint from the 65 Project, a group that seeks professional discipline of lawyers who promoted Trump’s stolen-election fantasy, Colorado Presiding Disciplinary Judge Bryon M. Large publicly censured Ellis for violating a rule of professional conduct that prohibits “reckless, knowing, or intentional misrepresentations by attorneys.” In the stipulation that accompanied the censure, Ellis admitted that she had made 10 “misrepresentations” while “serving as counsel for the Trump campaign and personal counsel to President Trump.”
Even at that crazy press conference on November 19, Ellis gave Powell and Giuliani credibility by describing them as members of “an elite strikeforce team that is working on behalf of the President and the campaign to make sure that our Constitution is protected.” She rebuked “fake news” organizations for assuming that the campaign had no evidence to support its fraud claims and promised it would produce that evidence in due course.
“Putting on evidence takes time,” Ellis said. “This is basically an opening statement so the American people can understand what the networks have been hiding and what they refuse to cover, because all of your fake news headlines are dancing around the merits of this case and are trying to de-legitimize what we are doing here.”
What were they doing? “Our objective is to make sure to preserve and protect election integrity,” Ellis said. “This is about maintaining free and fair elections in this country. It is not about overturning an outcome. It is about making sure that election integrity is preserved, and every American should want that.”
Without explicitly embracing Powell and Giuliani’s conspiracy theory, Ellis intimated that something had gone horribly wrong in the way the election was conducted. “We have time, and we have constitutional provisions that will step in when we show the corruption and the irredeemably challenged and overturned votes that are absolutely corrupt in all of these counties,” she said. “It is irredeemably compromised. We will show that, but you have to give us that opportunity.”
The campaign never did manage to “show that.” Its lawsuits, none of which actually involved Ellis as counsel of record, were almost uniformly unsuccessful, and their claims bore little resemblance to the fanciful story that the “elite strikeforce team” was telling. Powell’s lawsuits, which she filed independently after the campaign severed its relationship with her, did incorporate elements of that tall tale, and they were an even bigger flop. She eventually disowned the “kraken” she had repeatedly insisted would demolish the belief that Joe Biden had won the election.
In June 2021, a New York appeals court suspended Giuliani’s license to practice law, based on his “demonstrably false and misleading statements.” Two months later, a federal judge in Michigan orderedsanctions against Powell and eight other pro-Trump lawyers, calling her litigation “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.” Now it is Ellis’ turn.
Ellis’ misconduct went beyond her implicit endorsement of Powell and Giuliani’s claims at the November 19 press conference. The next day, she appeared on the Fox Business show Mornings with Maria. “We have affidavits from witnesses,” she said. “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 Newsmax the same day, Ellis insisted that “we know that the election was stolen from President Trump and we can prove that.” The next day on Twitter, she said “we will present testimonial and other evidence IN COURT to show how this election was STOLEN!” Two days later on MSNBC, she declared that “the election was stolen and Trump won by a landslide.”
In another interview with Maria Bartiromo a week later, Ellis reiterated that “when we subtract all the illegal ballots, you can see that President Trump actually won in a landslide.” She was back again on December 3, saying “the outcome of this election is actually fraudulent” and “President Trump actually won in a landslide.” In subsequent interviews and a tweet, Ellis falsely asserted that “we have over 500,000 votes that were cast illegally” in Arizona, described Trump as “the proper and true victor,” and claimed to have “overwhelming evidence proving this [election] was stolen.”
In a statement she posted on Twitter this morning, Ellis complainsthat “the politically-motivated Left” is “trying to falsely discredit me by saying I admitted I lied.” Not so, she says: “I would NEVER lie. Lying requires INTENTIONALLY making a false statement.” The rule she admitted to violating, she notes, refers to “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”
According to Ellis, a former Colorado prosecutor and defense attorney who has misrepresented herself as a “professor of constitutional law” and a “constitutional law attorney,” she did not lie after the 2020 election. She just credulously accepted and repeated outlandish claims that she insisted were supported by “overwhelming evidence,” even though that evidence did not exist, as she now concedes.
“The facts matter,” Ellis declared at the November 19 press conference. “The truth matters.” Except when it doesn’t.