Citing his role in the “violent uprising” that occurred last week at the Capitol, the New York State Bar Association, the country’s largest trade organization for lawyers, announced Monday that it had begun investigating President Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, which could lead to his removal from the group.
In a prepared statement, Scott M. Karson, the association’s president, said that his decision to begin the inquiry was prompted by hundreds of complaints the group had received about Mr. Giuliani’s central role in Mr. Trump’s attempts to overthrow the results of the election. On Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani addressed a crowd of Mr. Trump’s supporters, repeating Mr. Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud then appearing to urge people toward violence. After hearing Mr. Giuliani and the president speak, members of the crowd marched to the Capitol and an angry mob ransacked the building.
“If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right a lot of them will go to jail,” Mr. Giuliani said. “Let’s have trial by combat.”
The bar association has no power to strip Mr. Giuliani of his law license. But should the highly unusual investigation by his peers lead to his removal from the group, it would be a dark stain on a career that has spanned more than 40 years in the law. A spokeswoman for the group said that it had not removed someone who had not already been disbarred since 1904.
The association’s bylaws forbid members from, among other things, advocating “the overthrow of the government,” and in his statement Mr. Karson said that Mr. Giuliani’s words in Washington last week were “clearly intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election’s outcome to take matters into their own hands.”
“The subsequent attack on the Capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup,” Mr. Karson wrote, “intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power.”
Mr. Giuliani did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
The investigation was only the latest example of efforts to push back against lawyers who have supported Mr. Trump’s push to remain in power. Last week, for example, Dominion Voting Systems sued the president’s onetime lawyer, Sidney Powell, for defamation, claiming she had engaged in “a viral disinformation campaign” about the role its machines played in election.