Jenna Ellis, then a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, listens to Detroit poll worker Jessi Jacobs during an appearance before the Michigan House Oversight Committee on Dec. 2, 2020, in Lansing, Michigan. (Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Jenna Ellis, the Colorado attorney who represented former President Donald Trump as he tried to overturn the 2020 election, is under investigation by the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.
Ellis has been the target of formal complaints regarding what critics characterized as her professional misconduct connected to Trump’s effort to reverse the results of a free and fair election. In May a complaint from the States United Democracy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, asked Colorado Attorney Regulation Counsel Jessica Yates to investigate Ellis for multiple alleged violations of professional rules and impose possible “substantial professional discipline.”
“The status of this complaint is that it is pending with our office,” Yates wrote to Newsline Friday in an emailed response to questions about the complaint.
The complaint had previously been reported. This is believed to be the first time the existence of an investigation of Ellis has been reported.
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Attempts to reach Ellis for comment Friday, at “The Jenna Ellis Show” and elsewhere, were not successful.
Ellis appears among key Trump-aligned figures in the final report, released Thursday, of the U.S. House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. The report, which describes Ellis as deputy to Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, concludes that the attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of a Trump-led “multi-part conspiracy to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 Presidential election.”
Yates’ office is investigating Ellis based on the States United Democracy Center complaint. The complaint says “Ellis made numerous public misrepresentations alleging fraud in the election — even as federal and state election officials repeatedly found that no fraud had occurred that could have altered the outcome and even as Mr. Trump and his allies brought and lost over 60 lawsuits claiming election fraud or illegality.”
Among the many alleged instances of misconduct the complaint cites, it notes that Ellis urged lawmakers in various swing states to intervene on Trump’s behalf and even certify false electors for Trump, and it says she drafted dishonest memos purporting to give legal rationale for then-Vice President Mike Pence to block the congressional electoral count on Jan. 6, 2021.
Lawyers in Colorado are subject to the state’s Rules of Professional Conduct, and complaints are investigated by the attorney regulation counsel. If the counsel decides a case warrants prosecution, it’s heard and decided by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge. The judge could impose disciplinary measures, such as suspension of the attorney’s ability to practice law or disbarment.
“Ellis violated her professional obligations by knowingly providing objectively incorrect, false, and misleading legal advice that was designed to further Mr. Trump’s illegal schemes aimed at thwarting the count of electoral votes,” the States United Democracy Center complaint says.
In a deposition Ellis gave to the Jan. 6 committee in March, a transcript of which the committee released this week, she indicates that Colorado is the only state where she has bar membership. During the deposition a questioner referred to a $22,500 invoice Ellis submitted to Trump for work she performed in December 2020 and January 2021. Ellis invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer whether she received payment.
Ellis’ Colorado lawyer registration page on the Colorado Supreme Court website — she is listed as Jenna Lynn Rives — states that she works with the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based anti-abortion law firm. As of Friday, Ellis does not appear among the firm’s roster of attorneys, though she did appear there as recently as June.
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