Politics How 'America's Mayor' Rudy Giuliani could face criminal charges from the office he once led
AP sources: Feds search Rudy Giuliani's NYC home, office
NEW YORK (AP) — Federal investigators executed search warrants Wednesday morning at the Manhattan home and office of Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s attorney, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The former New York City mayor has been under investigation for several years over his business dealings in Ukraine. Details of the searches were not immediately available, but it comes as the Justice Department continues its investigation into the former New York City mayor and staunch Trump ally.
- Trumpworld was rocked by scandal when the feds raided Rudy Giuliani's home and office.
- The raids were part of a longrunning investigation into whether Giuliani broke foreign lobbying laws.
- Here's everything you need to know about the inquiry.
The political sphere flew into a frenzy this week amid news that the FBI raided the property of yet another lawyer working for former President Donald Trump.
What we know about the investigation into Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney to Donald Trump, is facing growing legal scrutiny after federal investigators searched his home and office Wednesday. The warrant, carried out as part of an ongoing investigation by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) over Giuliani's work on matters related to Ukraine and his business dealings with two indicted Soviet-born associates, marks a significant step forward in the investigation targeting the personal attorney to former President Donald Trump.
The feds on Wednesday executed search warrants on Rudy Giuliani's home and office and seized his electronic devices. Agents also seized a computer belonging to his personal assistant, Jo Ann Zafonte, served Zafonte with a grand jury subpoena, and raided the Washington, DC, home of Giuliani's associate Victoria Toensing.
It was the most significant development to date in an ongoing Justice Department investigation into whether Giuliani broke foreign lobbying laws while working as Trump's lawyer.
Giuliani has not been charged with a crime, and he has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer, Robert Costello, called the FBI's raids "legal thuggery" and said in athat they reflected a "corrupt double standard" at the Justice Department.
Opinion: Investigation of Rudy Giuliani is ramping up in a big way
While executing a search warrant certainly was a major event in the already lengthy saga of the investigation of Rudy Giuliani, there remains a long road ahead before we will know whether Giuliani faces arrest and criminal prosecution by the office he used to lead, writes Jennifer Rodgers.Eighteen months ago, media reports indicated that Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, was under scrutiny by federal prosecutors at the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York for actions related to his involvement in the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump's first impeachment.
Here's everything you need to know about Trumpworld's latest scandal:
Who's investigating Giuliani?
The US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York - sometimes called the Sovereign District of New York because of its- is leading the investigation. In an ironic twist, Giuliani previously served as head of the SDNY.
How did Giuliani land in the SDNY's crosshairs?
Federal prosecutors began scrutinizing the former New York mayor as part of a broader investigation into two of his Soviet-born business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. The two men were arrested in October 2019 on suspicion of trying to funnel foreign money into a pro-Trump super PAC and other entities to gain leverage in US political circles. Prosecutors also alleged that Parnas and Fruman tried to influence US-Ukraine relations.
The Washington Postthat the men had been working with Giuliani since late 2018 to find damaging information about the Bidens ahead of the 2020 election. John Dowd, an attorney representing Parnas and Fruman, told Congress in a statement shortly before their arrest that they had helped Giuliani in his work for Trump.
FBI 'warned Rudy Giuliani he was target of Russia plot to smear Biden'
Multiple sources said Giuliani was warned about Russia's attempts to potentially use him to push false claims to smear Joe Biden during the White House race. At the time, Giuliani was a key figure in Trump's reelection campaign and was seeking to unearth damaging information about Biden and his son Hunter over their dealings in Ukraine. But, despite the warning, Giuliani plowed ahead with a trip to Ukraine that December where he met with a Ukrainian lawmaker who the US government later said was 'an active Russian agent' who had ran an 'influence campaign' to sway the outcome of the election.
What are prosecutors investigating?
The full scope of the criminal inquiry is unclear, but its central thread appears to be focused on Giuliani's longrunning effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens. Specifically, prosecutors are examining if he was working solely in his capacity as Trump's lawyer, or if he was also working on behalf of foreign interests who believed they would benefit from Trump's reelection.
Investigators are said to be particularly focused on Giuliani's role in the abrupt removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the US's former ambassador to Ukraine. Yovanovitch's ouster was part of a broader effort by Trump and Giuliani to strongam Ukraine into launching political investigations targeting the Bidens ahead of the 2020 election.
Yovanovitchthat as part of that effort, Giuliani collaborated with corrupt Ukrainian interests on a smear campaign against her that was based on "false claims by people with clearly questionable motives."
Giuliani confirmed his role in Yovanovitch's removal, telling The New Yorker that he needed herbecause "she was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody."
Giuliani’s Legal Trouble Is Trump’s Too
To save himself, the president’s former lawyer might have to spill damning secrets.But it sure looks like he has a long legal battle ahead of him, and his best defense will likely put him at odds with his former boss. If Trump doesn’t voluntarily protect his one-time counsel, Giuliani may have no choice but to point the finger at his former client. (Their relationship was tested in January when Trump reportedly refused to pay Giuliani for his unsuccessful work trying to overturn the November election results.
Now,whether Giuliani targeted Yovanovitch at , or if he also did so at the behest of Ukrainian officials who wanted Yovanovitch ousted for their own reasons.
What could Giuliani be charged with?
If Giuliani was working on behalf of foreign interests, it could violate a law known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Put simply, FARA requires that American citizens notify the Justice Department of any contacts they have with foreign governments or officials, and if they interact with the US government or media at the direction of those officials.
In its modern context, "the core purpose of FARA is to put US government officials and the American people on notice when a foreign government or other foreign interest is behind efforts to influence their opinions or actions, so that they can appropriately consider and weigh information or content in light of that underlying foreign interest," David Laufman, a partner at Wiggin and Dana and former top Justice Department official who oversaw FARA enforcement,
Where does the investigation currently stand?
The longrunning inquiry entered an aggressive new phase with this week's FBI raids.
Executing a search warrant on a lawyer is an extraordinary step that requires high-level approval and a sign-off from a federal magistrate judge. To secure such a warrant, prosecutors would have had to prove they had reason to believe Giuliani's home and office contained evidence of a crime.
Rudy Giuliani Says He's 'Biggest Anti-Communist,' Not a 'Russian Agent'
"I'm probably the biggest anti-communist you ever met," Rudy Giuliani said on Monday. "Uh, there's no way I'm a Russian agent."Giuliani made the remarks during an appearance on the latest edition of Fox News' Hannity. The former New York City mayor, a Republican, suggested that the FBI raiding of his Manhattan apartment last week was part of an attempt to "destroy" his reputation due to his investigation of President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden.
According to The Times, investigators had been trying to secure a warrant against Giuliani for months, but Trump appointees at the Justice Department quashed their efforts. The probe, and the department lifted its objection to the warrant after Merrick Garland was confirmed as attorney general.
What's the next shoe to drop?
It's tough to say.
Giuliani has been in Trump's orbit for years, andas early as 2019 that the Russian government was using him as a tool to spread disinformation about Ukraine and the Biden family before the election. Despite the warning, Giuliani forged ahead with a trip to Kyiv in December 2019 where he met with Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian official and , as part of his mission to find dirt on the Bidens.
Giuliani was a fixture on conservative airwaves in the months leading up to the election, where he repeatedly amplified conspiracy theories about the Bidens and Ukraine. He also pushed the lie that Ukraine and not Russia interfered in the 2016 election, a talking point that can be traced back to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last October, he was instrumental in placing athat purported to detail the Bidens' corrupt ties to Ukraine based on a laptop the tabloid said belonged to Hunter Biden. Shortly after, NBC News reported that the FBI was investigating if the emails contained in the story, which the Post obtained from Giuliani, .
These episodes are not known to be part of the federal criminal probe into Giuliani, but they highlight his repeated disregard for counterintelligence officials' warnings that a foreign government was using him to further its own agenda.
Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer who was also raided by the FBI and is currently serving out a sentence for an array of crimes, put forward a blunt assessment of Giuliani's mounting legal troubles this week.
"We have no idea how expansive this investigation is going to ultimately reveal itself because Rudy's an idiot," he. "And that's the problem. Rudy drinks too much, Rudy behaves in such an erratic manner that who knows what's on those telephones or what's on his computers."
Giuliani cuts down his entourage .
It's the latest sign that the former New York mayor's legal woes are taking their toll on his lifestyle.Giuliani laid off several staffers and independent contractors in the last few weeks, according to one of the people, who said the ousted employees had been told that the former New York mayor was seeking to cut costs.