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Judge cautions Ellis as she nears settlement in second Colorado law license case

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Quentin Young

(Colorado Newsline) Jenna Ellis, previously an attorney for former President Donald Trump, is negotiating a settlement agreement in a case over whether she engaged in professional misconduct, according to the parties in the case.

The parties appeared for a hearing Thursday before Presiding Disciplinary Judge Bryon M. Large, who handles lawyer discipline cases in Colorado. Jacob Vos, an attorney with the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, which investigates allegations of lawyer misconduct, indicated that a settlement between the office and Ellis was near.

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“At this point, we have not just an agreement in principle, but we have an agreement as to all the specific terms,” Vos told Large. “I’m just waiting on a set of signatures so that I have something to countersign.”

John Richilano, Ellis’ attorney, told Large he would deliver settlement documents to Vos before Friday. The deadline to submit the proposed settlement to the court is Tuesday. Richilano said that as part of the agreement Ellis will submit a letter to the court. He did not elaborate on what the letter would say.

Large cautioned the parties that he could choose to reject the proposed settlement. The brief hearing included a discussion about a pending motion from the OARC for summary judgment. Large appeared displeased that Richilano had not responded to the motion and instead moved ahead with settlement negotiations, even though the motion would remain a pending matter were Large to reject the proposed settlement.

“I am a little concerned that, you know, Mr. Richilano, we have summary judgment stuff pending,” Large said. “I received an email but not a motion from you that you weren’t going to be filing a response. I very much feel like you’re banking on the court accepting the stipulation as well, and I just want to caution you about that, sir.”

Later, Large added, “The court will not hesitate to rule on the paperwork that’s pending before the court.”

Neither Richilano nor Ellis responded to a request for comment from Newsline.

Officials with the OARC in January accused Ellis, previously a Colorado resident who now lives in Florida but is still licensed to practice law in Colorado, of professional misconduct. Their complaint came in response to Ellis’ guilty plea to a count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings in a Fulton County, Georgia, case, which is related to Trump’s allegedly criminal attempt to remain in power after he lost the 2020 election.

It was the second time the OARC had brought Ellis to court over alleged professional misconduct. Ellis last year was censured by Large for misconduct related to “misrepresentations” she made when she worked alongside another former Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as Trump tried to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 win. She is among the lawyers in Trump’s circle around the 2020 election, including Giuliani and John Eastman, who have faced professional repercussions tied to their work for Trump.

Asked about the current complaint, Ellis in January told Newsline, “I will vigorously defend against this complaint and am confident that once all the facts are brought out, I will prevail.”

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.