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False Arizona claims play part in suspension of Giuliani law license

Among the claims that led a New York disciplinary panel to suspend Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's license to practice law were a series of baseless claims he made falsely alleging that tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants voted in the 2020 general election in Arizona.

A committee of judges from New York's state First Department Appellate Division found that Giuliani made " demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large" in his capacity as a lawyer for former President Donald Trump's campaign.

"The seriousness of (Giuliani's) uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated. 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 panel wrote.

In their 33-page ruling, the judges cited a number of instances in which Giuliani made "false and misleading" claims that illegal immigrants voted in Arizona.

"These false facts were made by (Giuliani) to perpetuate his overall narrative that the election had been stolen from his client," the ruling read.

At an unofficial hearing convened by Republican legislators at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix, Giuliani falsely claimed there were 5 million undocumented immigrants in Arizona, and said it's "beyond credulity that a few hundred thousand didn't vote," though it was acknowledged at the hearing that there had been no statewide check.

On one radio program, Giuliani said "way more than 10,000 illegal immigrants" voted in Arizona. In a podcast appearance, he said "the bare minimum is 40 or 50,000," and that "the reality is probably about 250,000." Another time, he claimed the number was 32,000, while acknowledging he didn't have the "best sources."

Biden won Arizona by about 10,000 votes.

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"On their face, these numerical claims are so wildly divergent and irreconcilable, that they all cannot be true at the same time. Some of the wild divergences were even stated by (Giuliani) in the very same sentence," the ruling read.

The ruling said Giuliani claimed he'd relied on information about noncitizen voters that he received from state Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, as well as "other witnesses." However, Giuliani didn't tell the committee exactly what Townsend told him, and Townsend didn't provide an affidavit or other information to the committee.

She has repeatedly raised concerns about federal-only voters in Arizona who can't provide proof of citizens.

State law requires proof of citizenship to register to vote, but federal law doesn't, so Arizona permits voters who can't provide that proof to vote on federal races only. The Secretary of State's Office told the Mirror in March that there were nearly 23,000 federal-only voters in Arizona, 7,628 of whom cast ballots in the 2020 general election.

Federal-only voters' inability to prove citizenship doesn't necessarily signify that they aren't U.S. citizens. They must attest on registration forms that they're United States citizens, and anyone caught lying is subject to felony prosecution. Election officials also take other steps to determine citizenship for those voters, such as checking driver's license records, jury duty questionnaires, Social Security records and foreign identifications. Federal-only voters, like other voters, must also provide identification to vote in person or request an early ballot.

Townsend did not respond to a message from the Arizona Mirror about what she told Giuliani. But she defended her statements to Giuliani on Twitter and indicated that he may have misconstrued something she said about federal-only voters.

"I have never said anything to mislead anyone on the Federal Only voters in Arizona. There were 36,000 people registered to vote in Nov 2020, who could not prove they were citizens, or even exist. If that was misunderstood or misquoted, that is quite unfortunate," she wrote.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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Rudy Giuliani speaking to Republican legislators at an unofficial hearing on the 2020 election held on Nov. 30, 2020. Giuliani's comments at that meeting and in other contexts about Trump's loss in Arizona played a role in the suspension of his law license in New York.