Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow are both lawyers. They are both allegedly on President Donald Trump’s legal team, but their actions are a disgrace to lawyers and don’t represent what lawyers do.
Lawyers don’t try their cases in the media. Lawyers don’t comment on their cases in the media for obvious reason. They can betray a confidential matter and, worse, implicate the client in a
crime, and even worse, taint a jury pool and prevent a fair trial.
Nearly every state, including Alabama, has a rule prohibiting a lawyer from making comments to the press about pending cases. Rule 3.6(a) says, "A lawyer shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding."
The American Bar Association has a similar rule. Rule 3.6(a) of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Responsibility says, “A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.”
Both Sekulow and Giuliani have had lengthy careers as lawyers. Giuliani, before he became mayor of New York City, was a federal prosecutor. Sekulow has made a name for himself representing churches and religious entities in a variety of theocratic issues. Neither man has been a criminal defense lawyer. That said, both men know this rule.
So, what’s going on? Both Giuliani and Sekulow are acting as public relations shills for the president. Neither is acting as a lawyer. Both are making outrageous and false statements as to the facts and the law to please an audience of one – the president.
Neither man is following the rule against publicity and in doing so have created a the impression that lawyers are shifty mouthpieces who will say anything to win.
Good criminal lawyers don’t try their cases in the press. They try their cases in the courtroom, where everything is taken down into evidence and there is a requirement of truth and a penalty of jail if people lie.
The danger of Giuliani and Sekulow is that jurors will assume that because they’ve seen Giuliani and Sekulow engage in a shifting sea of lies that the lawyers they see in a courtroom are lying.
This is bad for the reputation of lawyers and worse for the legal system’s search for truth.
(Required by Alabama law: No representation is made that the quality of legal services is greater than other lawyers.)