Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis censured over 2020 election fraud 'misrepresentations'
By Jacqueline Thomsen
(Reuters) - Jenna Ellis, a high-profile member of former U.S. President Donald Trump's legal team that challenged his 2020 election loss, agreed to be censured by a Colorado court after admitting to making false claims about voter fraud, according to a court ruling.
Under the agreement released on Wednesday between Ellis and Colorado attorney disciplinary officials, Ellis acknowledged making 10 "misrepresentations" about the 2020 election.
The misrepresentations included saying Trump's legal team could "prove" the election was stolen and that the results were "fraudulent," according to the opinion by Judge Bryon Large, the state's presiding disciplinary judge.
Ellis and the state officials agreed that the statements violated a Colorado rule against attorneys engaging in conduct "involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation," the opinion said.
Ellis' attorney Michael Melito in a statement said that his client "remains a practicing attorney in good standing in the State of Colorado. In a very heated political climate, we secured that correct outcome."
Colorado's Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel said the censure "reinforces that even if engaged in political speech, there is a line attorneys cannot cross."
Ellis did not sign any of the lawsuits filed by Trump or his campaign that disputed the 2020 presidential election results, but she was regularly identified as a member of Trump's post-election legal team.
Wednesday's ruling said Ellis and attorney regulators agreed that "through her conduct, (Ellis) undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election, violating her duty of candor to the public."
The parties also agreed that Ellis "had a selfish motive" and had "engaged in a pattern of misconduct."
Ellis was the subject of a bar complaint filed by The 65 Project, a group that has filed ethics complaints against lawyers who alleged fraud in the 2020 election without evidence.
Michael Teter, its managing director, in a statement suggested a public censure was inadequate for Ellis, citing the role false election claims played in sparking the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot by Trump supporters.
(Reporting by Jacqueline Thomsen; Editing by David Bario and Bill Berkrot)