Lawyer Jenna Ellis Acknowledges Election Deception, is Censured in Colorado

On March 9 2023, a screenshot of a headline that indicated Trump administration lawyer Jenna Ellis had acknowledged “misrepresenting … claims” that the 2020 election was “stolen” appeared on Imgur:

On the same date, a post to Reddit’s r/politics indicated Ellis was “censured for election rigging lies”:

Fact Check

Claim: Donald Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis was censured in Colorado in March 2023, due to her participation in efforts to disrupt the 2020 election.

Description: The claim states that Jenna Ellis, an attorney who represented Donald Trump, acknowledged misrepresenting election-related evidence multiple times and was subsequently censured in Colorado in March 2023. This action came after Ellis’s attempts to disrupt the 2020 election with misinformation.


Rating Explanation: The information has been confirmed as true by multiple sources, including Colorado’s top disciplinary judge Bryon Large and public documents detailing the disciplinary hearing and resulting public censure. It’s also been reported by reputable news outlets.

Google Trends data for that 24-hour long period indicated “Breakout” levels of search for “Jenna Ellis.” Related searches with “Breakout” popularity included “Jenna Ellis lawyer,” “Jenna Ellis Colorado,” “Jenna Ellis attorney,” and “censure meaning.”

The submitter also posted a link to a article published just before midnight on March 8 2023. It reported:

Jenna Ellis, an attorney for Donald Trump who helped drive his false claims about the 2020 election results, has admitted in a Colorado disciplinary proceeding that she misrepresented evidence at least 10 times during Trump’s frantic bid to subvert his defeat.

“Respondent made these misrepresentations on Twitter and on various television programs, including Fox Business, MSNBC, Fox News, and Newsmax,” Colorado’s top disciplinary judge Bryon Large wrote in a six-page opinion. “The parties agree that by making these misrepresentations, Respondent violated [a state attorney rule of conduct], which provides that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”

Large issued a public censure of Ellis for her stipulated conduct.

In that excerpt, referenced a “Colorado disciplinary proceeding” involving Ellis, adding that judge Byron Large had “issued a public censure” regarding Ellis and her conduct. A March 9 2023 New York Times article about Ellis and the Colorado disciplinary hearing reported:

Jenna Ellis, a lawyer who represented President Donald J. Trump after his loss in the 2020 election, admitted in a sworn statement released on Wednesday [March 8 2023] that she had knowingly misrepresented the facts in several of her public claims that widespread voting fraud led to Mr. Trump’s defeat.

The admissions by Ms. Ellis were part of an agreement to accept public censure and settle disciplinary measures brought against her by state bar officials in Colorado, her home state. Last year [2022], the officials opened an investigation of Ms. Ellis after a complaint from the 65 Project, a bipartisan legal watchdog group. The group accused her of professional misconduct in her efforts to help Mr. Trump promote his claims of voting fraud and undertake “a concerted effort to overturn the legitimate 2020 presidential election results.”


Ms. Ellis, part of the so-called elite strike force of lawyers that took to the air and traveled across the country in support of Mr. Trump’s false claims of fraud, is also embroiled in the Justice Department’s investigation of the former president’s sprawling efforts to reverse his loss to Joseph R. Biden Jr. As part of the investigation — which was taken over in November [2022] by a special counsel, Jack Smith — dozens of grand jury subpoenas have been issued, many of which have requested information about Ms. Ellis.

The piece linked out to what appeared to be the opinion [PDF]. It led to the website for the non-partisan advocacy group States United Democracy Center; there, a statement was posted about Ellis’ censure on March 8 2023:


Denver, CO — The States United Democracy Center today [March 8 2023] issued the following statement in response to the Colorado Supreme Court’s Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s censure of former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis for her role in spreading lies and conspiracies about the 2020 election. States United filed an ethics complaint against Jenna Ellis with the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel in May 2022.

Aaron Scherzer, Senior Counsel at the States United Democracy Center:

“Jenna Ellis repeatedly went on television and on Twitter to promote the reckless lie that the 2020 election was stolen. As counsel to former President Trump and the Trump campaign, she abused her law license as part of an attempt to overturn the will of the American people—a plot that ultimately led to a violent insurrection.

As part of this public censure, Jenna Ellis agrees that she knowingly misrepresented the facts at least 10 separate times, including by falsely claiming that Donald Trump was the “true victor” in the 2020 election. Ellis rightly admits that her actions undermined public confidence in our elections. Her lies did lasting damage, and her name will forever be linked to this assault on our democracy.

In that statement, “censure” linked to a separate document (“Order And Notice Of Public Censure,” [PDF]) that was also hosted on the site:

On March 8, 2023, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge (“the Court”) issued an “Opinion Approving Stipulation to Discipline Under C.R.C.P. 242.19(c),” providing that Jenna Lynn Ellis (“Respondent”) should be publicly censured.

Under C.R.C.P. 242.19(c), the Court ORDERS that JENNA LYNN ELLIS, attorney registration number 44026, is PUBLICLY CENSURED, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.

States United Democracy Center explained that it had originally filed an ethics complaint against Ellis with the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel in May 2022, and that the hearing had taken place in the state of Colorado. Legal education site explained censure more broadly:

The most common penalties for violating ethical rules are disbarment, suspension, and public or private censure.

Disbarment is the revocation of an attorney’s state license, permanently rendering the attorney unqualified to practice law. Depending on the offense and the ethics board’s rules, an attorney might be entitled to reapply for admission to a state bar following disbarment. Often, reapplication is a painful process. Attorneys might be required to submit to an intense scrutiny of their personal life and financial matters before they are re-admitted.

Suspension is a temporary revocation of a license, rendering an attorney unqualified to practice for a finite period.

Public or private censure is a reprimand by a body administering the ethics rules. Some refer to this as a “slap on the wrist,” but clients might be inclined to find alternate representation if they know their attorney was censured. An attorney may agree to be censured in lieu of undergoing a formal and public ethical investigation and hearing. Such agreement might mandate certain conditions for the attorney to fulfill, such as participation in public ethics programs and seminars.

Sanction, another form of discipline, occurs in the context of litigation. In Federal court, a violation of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure occurs when an attorney knowingly presents to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper for an improper purpose.

On March 9 2023, several social media posts reported that Donald Trump attorney Jenna Ellis was censured in Colorado, due to her participation in efforts to disrupt the 2020 election. Public documents hosted on States United Democracy Center’s website detailed the disciplinary hearing, opinion, and resulting public censure that was issued in Colorado in March 2023.