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Former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis censored in Colorado for 2020 statements


Jenna Ellis, an attorney who advised then-President Donald Trump as he tried to overturn the 2020 election results, was censured on Wednesday for misconduct by a Colorado Supreme Court justice.

Regulatory counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney’s Office said Ellis violated a Colorado rule of professional conduct that prohibits “misrepresentations” by attorneys.

The office said Ellis made a series of public statements about the 2020 election that were untrue.

“The public censorship in this case reinforces the fact that even if they are engaged in political speech, there is a line that lawyers cannot cross, especially when speaking in a representative capacity,” said the office in a statement.

Bryon M. Large, presiding disciplinary judge of the state Supreme Court, approved the censorship.

In an advisory, Large said Ellis “repeatedly” presented false statements on national television and on Twitter that undermined public confidence in the 2020 presidential election.

Last month, Ellis’ attorney filed a stipulation accepting a public censure from his client and acknowledging 10 false statements in the aftermath of the 2020 election, including repeatedly claiming the election was stolen from Trump.

Ellis also acknowledged misleading comments stemming from claims she made on Fox Business about witness affidavits, voter intimidation and statistics that proved a “coordinated effort” to shift votes from Trump to Biden. According to the signed stipulation, she made similar statements on Twitter.

Fox News and Fox Corp. are facing a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems over on-air allegations that the company “rigged” the 2020 election.

Ellis’ stipulation also noted that while she was a member of Trump’s legal team, she was not the attorney of record for any of the lawsuits that challenged the election results.

Ellis served as Trump’s senior legal adviser from February 2019 until shortly after his departure in January 2021. Ellis was admitted to the Colorado bar in 2011.

Large said the parties agreed Ellis had a “selfish motive” and engaged in a “pattern of misconduct.”

The parties also agreed that Ellis, “by his conduct undermined the confidence of the American public in the presidential election, violating his duty of candor to the public,” Large wrote.

NBC News has reached out to Ellis’ attorney, Michael W. Melito, for comment.

Ellis has been involved in a series of investigations related to the 2020 election. Last year, the House Jan. 6 Committee subpoenaed her to testify and she was ordered to testify before a special grand jury in Georgia investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to influence the state’s 2020 election. The jury recommended indicting more than a dozen people last month, but those names have not been made public.

The jury foreman told NBC News at the time, “There are definitely some names you will recognize, yes. There are also names you might not recognize.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.