CNN  — 

The New York State Bar Association has opened an inquiry into removing Rudy Giuliani from its membership for his role in provoking a pro-Trump mob to storm the US Capitol and attempts to overturn the 2020 election results, the group said Monday.

The NYSBA is a voluntary bar association that cannot disbar Giuliani, a former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York who is now President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, so the ousting would not prevent him from representing the President in an impeachment trial or other pending litigation against him. But the rare step by the association adds to the layer of criticism Giuliani has faced from the legal community over his defense of Trump.

Giuliani has continuously spread baseless claims and conspiracy theories about the election despite no evidence of voter fraud.

“If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right a lot of them will go to jail. Let’s have trial by combat,” Giuliani said at Wednesday’s rally.

The NYSBA, which condemned the siege at the US Capitol, said in a statement that it has received “hundreds of complaints in recent months” regarding Giuliani’s efforts to challenge the election on Trump’s behalf and that his statements at the rally have prompted the group’s president, Scott M. Karson, to determine if the attorney should be removed.

“This decision is historic for NYSBA, and we have not made it lightly. We cannot stand idly by and allow those intent on rending the fabric of our democracy to go unchecked,” NYSBA said in a statement.

CNN reached out to Giuliani for comment Monday.

According to its bylaws, “no person who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or of any state, territory or possession thereof, or of any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means, shall be a member of the Association.” And the NYSBA said Guiliani’s remarks at the rally were “intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election’s outcome to take matters into their own hands.”

“Their subsequent attack on the Capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power,” the NYSBA said.

Giuliani will have the option to contest his removal and “explain and defend his words and actions,” the NYSBA said.

CNN’s Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this report.