States United and LDAD Call for Jenna Ellis’s Disbarment Following Her Guilty Plea in Georgia

Letter Garners Bipartisan Support from Former Officials and Legal Experts; Builds on States United’s 2022 Ethics Complaint Against Ellis in Colorado, Resulting in her Public Censure

Denver, CO — The States United Democracy Center and Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD) today sent a letter to the Colorado Supreme Court urging the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel (OARC) to seek Jenna Ellis’s disbarment through a new disciplinary proceeding in light of her felony guilty plea in the Fulton County, Georgia election interference case. The letter was signed by more than a dozen bipartisan signatories, including former Republican officials, leading law professors, and the Bush and Obama White House ethics advisors.

“The lies that Jenna Ellis helped spread about fraud and misconduct by Georgia voters and election administrators poisoned public trust in our elections, endangered election workers, and threatened our democracy,” said Gillian Feiner, Senior Counsel at the States United Democracy Center. “Attorneys who commit crimes like this must face serious professional consequences. Ellis should be disbarred.”

The letter calls on the OARC to initiate further proceedings to disbar Ellis and to suspend her law license in the interim. It lays out the following case:

  • According to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, attorneys barred in Colorado cannot knowingly spread lies.
  • Ellis was previously censured by the Colorado Supreme Court for promoting lies about the 2020 election in the media, following an initial ethics complaint filed by States United.
  • This fall, Ellis pled guilty to intentionally aiding and abetting fellow Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Ray Smith III in knowingly, willfully, and unlawfully making false statements to Georgia state senators that cast doubt on the 2020 results.
  • The false statements at issue in Ellis’s Georgia plea, which are different from those in her censure, caused substantial harm.

“To become a lawyer, a person must take an oath to support the Constitution. A lawyer who pleads guilty to the felony of intentionally aiding and abetting others to make knowingly false statements—designed to help undermine the constitutional process for electing presidents—should not be allowed to remain a member of the bar,” said Gershon (Gary) Ratner, Co-Founder of Lawyers Defending American Democracy.

“Not only did Jenna Ellis play a role in the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, she hasn’t shown any remorse since she was publicly censured for it, instead calling the punishment ‘political warfare,’” said Christine P. Sun, Senior Vice President of Legal at the States United Democracy Center. “Professional discipline is one of the many tools we have to hold the people who put our democracy at risk accountable. There’s no room in the legal profession for lawyers who refuse to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution.”

Key excerpts from the letter include:

“The December 3 falsehoods also exposed election workers in Georgia to harassment and threats of violence. A defamation complaint filed by Fulton County election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss describes in detail the instant and devastating impact on their lives of the December 3 hearing. … The complaint further alleges those ‘lies had instant and profound consequences. Both Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss received an immediate onslaught of violent and racist threats and harassment. Their personal and professional reputations have been destroyed. To this day, Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss fear for their physical safety and have suffered a devastating emotional toll.’

“In a tweet in the wake of her censure in Colorado, instead of showing remorse for her actions to undermine American democracy, Ms. Ellis attacked the process, writing to her followers that: ‘This is and always was political lawfare to intimidate lawyers from representing Trump or Republicans candidates, especially in election challenges and try to destroy our livelihood and reputation.’ At her allocution in Georgia, she attempted to cast her criminal conduct as a mere failure to conduct due diligence ‘to make sure that the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true, were in fact true.’ Instead of accepting responsibility, she stated, ‘I relied on others, including lawyers with many more years of experience than I to provide me with true and reliable information, especially since my role involved speaking to the media and legislators in various states.’ These statements elide her more than a decade of experience as a barred attorney and fall far short of demonstrating the type of contrition that would warrant lesser discipline [than disbarment].”

This letter calling on the Colorado Supreme Court’s OARC to seek further discipline against Jenna Ellis is the latest action by States United and other legal experts to pursue accountability for those who tried to undermine the will of the voters in 2020. Review States United’s initial ethics complaint against Jenna Ellis in Colorado, which resulted in her public censure. States United and LDAD also teamed up last month to send a letter to the Texas Bar seeking Sidney Powell’s disbarment following her guilty plea in Georgia.

Additional accountability efforts include States United’s bar complaints against John Eastman, which led to his trial in California State Bar Court that is due for a ruling by February 2024, and LDAD’s bar complaints against Rudy Giuliani, Ken Paxton, Jeffrey Clark, and Kenneth Chesebro.


About the States United Democracy Center

The States United Democracy Center is a nonpartisan organization advancing free, fair, and secure elections. We focus on connecting state officials, law enforcement leaders, and pro-democracy partners across America with the tools and expertise they need to safeguard our democracy. For more information, visit https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/.

About Lawyers Defending American Democracy

Founded in 2019, Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to fostering adherence to the protection of the Constitution and the rule of law. LDAD has issued a variety of Open Letters and Statements calling for adherence by public officials to the rule of law and encouraging fellow lawyers, leaders of bar associations, and the legal academy to join in speaking out against threats to democracy. LDAD has also filed disciplinary complaints against lawyers who have violated their oath to protect the Constitution, for example, Rudolph Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark, Kenneth Paxton, and John Eastman. All letters, statements and briefs are available at https://ldad.org/.