Ellis, Chesebro and Powell have all asked the court to state their crimes were not ones of “moral turpitude”. What is the significance of that expression and why is it so important to them?
In many states, conviction (or a guilty plea) to a crime of moral turpitude is automatic disbarment. At a minimum, these lawyers would face hearings and their licenses, and livelihoods, would be at risk. Wikipedia.
One's licence would still be at risk if convicted of crimes short of moral turpitude — it just would not be automatic disbarment in those states.