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Judge approves 3-year law license suspension for Jenna Ellis, former Trump lawyer

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Judge approves 3-year law license suspension for Jenna Ellis, former Trump lawyer

May 28, 2024 | 10:13 pm ET
By Quentin Young
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Judge approves 3-year law license suspension for Jenna Ellis, former Trump lawyer
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Jenna Ellis speaks during an appearance before the Michigan House Oversight Committee on Dec. 2, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. (Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

The Colorado law license of Jenna Ellis, previously an attorney for former President Donald Trump, will be suspended for three years under the terms of an agreement approved by a judge Tuesday.

The approval concludes a case in which Colorado authorities accused Ellis for the second time of professional misconduct related to her work for Trump when he attempted to reverse his loss in the 2020 election.

The suspension came as part of a settlement agreement between Ellis and the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, which investigates allegations of lawyer misconduct, and was approved by Presiding Disciplinary Judge Bryon M. Large, who handles lawyer discipline cases in Colorado.

If Ellis, a former Colorado resident who lives in Florida but had retained her Colorado law license, wants to reinstate her license after the term of suspension she must petition the judge to do so, according to the agreement.

In a letter submitted to the court as part of the settlement agreement, Ellis acknowledged “the harm caused to the nation by the post-election activities of 2020 on behalf of then-President Donald Trump” and the “cynical ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign.”

“I wish to express my deep remorse and to acknowledge the harm my misconduct caused,” she wrote.

She said she did not in late 2020 intentionally spread falsehoods about the election.

“In the beginning of my involvement I genuinely believed that the election challenges were made in good faith — basically a repeat of a Bush v. Gore situation, not an effort to undermine the public faith in the integrity of elections,” she wrote. “But I admit that I was overly zealous in believing the ‘facts’ being peddled to support the challenge, which were manufactured and false … I was wrong.”

Officials with the OARC in January accused Ellis of misconduct in response to Ellis’ guilty plea to a count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings in a Fulton County, Georgia, case, which is related to Trump’s allegedly criminal attempt to remain in power after he lost the 2020 election. 

It was the second time the OARC had brought Ellis to court over alleged professional misconduct. Ellis last year was censured by Large for misconduct related to “misrepresentations” she made when she worked alongside another former Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as Trump tried to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 win.

She is among the lawyers in Trump’s circle around the 2020 election, including Giuliani and John Eastman, who have faced professional repercussions tied to their work for Trump.

“Unlike others in the Trump orbit, Jenna Ellis stepped forward and took responsibility and told the truth,” said John Richliano in a statement Ellis provided to Newsline. “She did this at considerable personal cost, having received threatening emails, texts and tweets, also of the obscene variety. She may well get them after today. She gratefully accepted suspension of her license understanding her role and realizing after the fact that there was a lot of untruths being advanced on behalf of the former president. It was never about disbarment and Ms. Ellis is grateful to attorney regulation for recognizing this was the better outcome.”

Gillian Feiner, senior counsel at States United Democracy Center, which along with Lawyers Defending American Democracy in December had formally requested that Colorado officials pursue disciplinary action against Ellis after her guilty plea in Georgia, issued a statement Tuesday after the suspension was announced.

“Jenna Ellis abused her law license and committed a crime when she facilitated Trump’s illegal attempt to overturn Georgia’s free and fair election,” Feiner said. “She undermined confidence in our democracy and endangered hardworking election workers. Attorneys who engage in that kind of misconduct must face serious consequences. No one is above the law.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:54 a.m., May 29, to include a statement from John Richliano.