Rudy Giuliani may have bigger problems on the horizon
Rudy Giuliani on his podcast (screengrab).

Rudy Giuliani's law license has been suspended and he's being sued for spreading lies about Donald Trump's election loss -- and there's a chance he could even face criminal charges.

The ex-president's former lawyer and other Trump allies face potential criminal liability for inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, but New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the First Amendment will face a test in those cases.

"I think there is a sort of understanding or some belief throughout American history that people would operate in good faith, that we would have our First Amendment but that Americans would say and do what they wanted to do, but that everyone would sort of be rowing in the same direction," Schmidt said.

"We're now confronting a thing where some Americans are basically taking that First Amendment, really, really far, to the point that they are spreading these lies about the election, and I don't know what the answer is to it," Schmidt added. "I don't know what you do when you have the people who had the largest megaphones in the country and they were using them to do this, to spread this."

That's not to say Giuliani and the others won't face any penalties for lying in an effort to overturn the election results.

"There are three ways that Rudy Giuliani could be held accountable," Schmidt said. "One, we're seeing here with his law license -- obviously, to many that is not going to feel like enough. The second thing is civilly, he has been sued. Companies that were defamed by him in this process have gone to court to sue him, and in some cases when they've brought these lawsuits against cable companies and others, those people have walked away from their statements. Now the lies that they told have already been around and have laid the groundwork for other things, but they have moved away for that. So that process has begun and began in the weeks after the insurrection."

"The other thing is whether they could be charged criminally in that, and the bar for that, I think -- my understanding of it is really, really high to charge someone with, you know, basically using their speech to have incited this," Schmidt added. "I understand why a lot of people look at what happened and what was said and see a direct line from it to the actions, but I think that proving that -- the Justice Department proving that in court especially with people like Giuliani or others is very, very high bar."

06 25 2021 06 19 20