By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY — Almost 2,000 attorneys from across the US have signed on to a complaint addressed to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Committee asking that Attorney General Jeff Session be disbarred from the Alabama State Bar.
The complaint, filed by the Lawyers for Good Government, alleges that Sessions should be disbarred for violating professional conduct standards in the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. The allegations stem from Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Senate confirmation for US Attorney General.
The complaint states that Sessions behaved dishonestly and deceitfully when he testified that he “did not have communications with the Russians.”
Earlier this month, revelations surfaced that Sessions had contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States. The ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and Sessions met twice during the peak of the 2016 presidential race when Sessions was serving as a surrogate for then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
At the time, Sessions was advising on immigration and national security. In late November, Sessions was one of then-President-elect Trump’s first named cabinet appointees. He was later confirmed by the Senate in February after a long, contentious confirmation process.
During the confirmation hearings, Sessions said he never met with Russian officials after a question from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who asked about a report from CNN alleging that surrogates from Trump and Russian officials exchanged information during the campaign, according to a New York Times report. He was asked what his response would be if the report was true.
“I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it,” Sessions said in the hearing.
Sessions late said that he briefly met with Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, and in his Senate office in September. Sessions said the pair discussed Russia and Ukraine, among other topics.
On March 2, Session recused himself from any possible investigations into relationships between Trump’s campaign and Russia and any meddling Russia may have conducted into the 2016 presidential election.
The complaint from the Lawyers for Good Government alleges that Sessions violated the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, including a provision that discourages “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”
Sessions defended himself and denied intentionally misleading the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“In retrospect,” Sessions said at a news conference announcing his recusal. “I should have slowed down and said, ‘But I did meet one Russian official a couple of times, and that would be the ambassador.’”
The complaint seeks the disbarment of Sessions as a member of the Alabama Bar Association, the organization that gives lawyers license to practice in Alabama.