Politics

ACLU Lawyer Files Ethics Complaint Against Jeff Sessions Over Russia Testimony

The Alabama State Bar is being asked to investigate the attorney general's statements about contact with Russian officials to "determine whether he violated the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct."

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WASHINGTON — A lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union filed an ethics complaint against Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday, asking the Alabama Bar to "determine whether he violated the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct" in his sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his contact with Russian officials.

"Mr. Sessions made false statements during sworn testimony on January 10, 2017, and in a subsequent written response to questions on January 17, 2017," the complaint alleges.

Christopher Anders, a lawyer with the ACLU in Washington, DC, filed the complaint, which asks the state's bar to investigate whether Sessions engaged in professional misconduct in the answers he gave to the committee regarding his contact with Russian officials.

The complaint points to two of Sessions' answers to the committee — the exchange he had with Sen. Al Franken about Russian communications during the campaign, and a written follow-up response to Sen. Patrick Leahy — as potentially violating the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct.

Following the revelation that Sessions had communications with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sessions announced that he would be recusing himself from any investigation relating to the 2016 presidential campaign.

On March 6, Sessions sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, supplementing his testimony — while maintaining that his initial answers were "correct."

The ACLU lawyer's complaint differed on that point, with Anders writing that "the report of the meetings between Mr. Sessions and the Russian ambassador does not square with Mr. Sessions' sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee."

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Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.

Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.

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