In the latest (big) chapter in a criminal investigation that has gone on for two years, federal agents used search warrants at the NYC offices of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor whose recent incarnation has been former President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer. He has been at the heart of many political and legal controversies swarming around Trump.
Federal investigators in Manhattan executed search warrants early Wednesday at the home and office of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who became President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, stepping up a criminal investigation into Mr. Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, three people with knowledge of the investigation said.
The investigators seized Mr. Giuliani’s electronic devices and searched his Madison Avenue apartment and his Park Avenue office at about 6 a.m., two of the people said.
The execution of search warrants is an extraordinary action for prosecutors to take against a lawyer, let alone a lawyer for a former president. It was a major development in the long-running investigation into Mr. Giuliani and a remarkable moment in his long arc as a public figure.
…Mr. Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert J. Costello, called the searches unnecessary because his client had offered to answer prosecutors’s questions, except those regarding Mr. Giuliani’s privileged communications with the former president.
“What they did today was legal thuggery,” Mr. Costello said. “Why would you do this to anyone, let alone someone who was the associate attorney general, United States attorney, the mayor of New York City and the personal lawyer to the 45th president of the United States.”
F.B.I. agents on Wednesday morning also executed a search warrant at the Washington-area home of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer close to Mr. Giuliani who had dealings with several Ukrainians involved in seeking negative information on the Bidens, according to people with knowledge of that warrant, which sought her phone
Ms. Toensing, a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official, has also represented Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch under indictment in the United States whose help Mr. Giuliani sought.
Federal agents executed search warrants Wednesday at the Manhattan apartment and office of Rudy Giuliani, his attorney said, advancing a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors that has been underway for more than two years.
Giuliani, who served as former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has been the focus of an investigation concerning his activities in Ukraine, including whether he conducted illegal lobbying for Ukrainian officials while he pursued an investigation linked to Trump’s primary political rival, President Joe Biden, CNN has reported. Giuliani hasn’t been charged and has denied wrongdoing.
It is unusual for prosecutors to execute a search warrant on a lawyer, although Manhattan federal prosecutors have done so before, most notably in recent years against another former lawyer for Trump, Michael Cohen.
On Wednesday afternoon, an attorney for Giuliani, Robert Costello, said the warrant described an investigation into possible violation of foreign lobbying laws and that it sought communications between Giuliani and people including a former columnist for The Hill, John Solomon.
As part of the same investigation, agents on Wednesday also searched the home of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer and Giuliani ally, according to a spokesperson for Toensing.
“Ms. Toensing is a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official. She has always conducted herself and her law practice according to the highest legal and ethical standards,” her spokesperson said in a statement. “She would have been happy to turn over any relevant documents. All they had to do was ask. Ms. Toensing was informed that she is not a target of the investigation.”
Toensing and her husband, Joseph diGenova, signed an agreement with a Ukrainian prosecutor as part of an effort to collect information about Biden’s activities in Ukraine while he was vice president, according to the House Democrats’ 2019 impeachment report.
A spokesman for the Manhattan US Attorney’s office declined to comment. The New York Times was first to report the search.
A search warrant for a lawyer like Giuliani would require sign-off by the highest levels of the Department of Justice, likely by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco or the acting deputy attorney general who served prior to her confirmation, according to departmental guidelines.
The Times reported that investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.
The New York federal prosecutors leading the investigation into Giuliani have previously sought a search warrant for him, raising the prospect last year of seeking one for his communications, but they were met at the time with resistance from Justice Department officials in Washington over the strength of their evidence, CNN has previously reported.
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake offers a take titled: “Giuliani’s long quest to put himself in legal jeopardy appears to have paid off.”
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) April 28, 2021
I concur that Rudy Giuliani is in deep trouble
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) April 28, 2021
In addition to Rudy Giuliani, news just broke that Victoria Toensing had a search warrant executed on her home. It’s probably a/b Firtash, who paid Lev $1 mil, who then paid Rudy who was working for Trump for free. Translation- Putin was paying Trump. This may ensnare Barr too.
— Tom Joseph (@TomJChicago) April 28, 2021
Does Rudy Giuliani ever think about how easy and pleasant his life could have been? He could have spent the last 20 years giving lucrative speeches about Leadership, consisting of a few nouns, a few verbs, and 9/11.
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) April 28, 2021
An FBI raid on Rudy Giuliani. An FBI raid on Victoria Toensing. A white-nationalist, insurrectionist "Stop the Steal" leader now on the No Fly List.
It's been a pretty damn amazing 24 hours for the FBI and DOJ finally seeking justice for Americans who believe in this democracy.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) April 28, 2021
I wonder if Bill Barr’s new book deal includes a chapter on ‘how I blocked the feds from investigating Giuliani in the waning months of Trump regime’ it would be good right after, ‘how I killed Jeffrey Epstein’
— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) April 28, 2021
Bless the Onion.
‘You’ll Never Take Me Alive!’ Shouts Giuliani Jumping Onto Chandelier And Immediately Falling 3 Stories https://t.co/IfGElADOtY
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) April 28, 2021
Giuliani’s son Andrew on FBI raid:
"The only piece of evidence that they did not take up there today was the only piece of incriminating evidence that is in there — and it does not belong to my father — it belongs to the current president's son."
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) April 28, 2021
Giuliani's lawyer tells WSJ that search warrant seeks "communications between Mr. Giuliani and individuals including John Solomon."
WSJ, NYT, CNN point to investigation of activities with Ukraine.
Reminder of Giuliani-Solomon-Devin Nunes Timeline?https://t.co/6LmTrXJ7My
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) April 28, 2021
I’ve known ?@RudyGiuliani? decades. Don’t recognize what he’s become. Was once so respected. He’s now, most cringe-inducing.
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) April 28, 2021
Remember when Barr had Berman come to his NY hotel to tell him to resign, they’d find a nice job for him in dc. then had DOJ put out a press release saying Berman resigned-when he hadn’t? we all suspected it was to block this Giuliani investigation & related, turns out, prbly was https://t.co/tJtN9pmP7o
— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) April 28, 2021
I was recently told by a source the following: “While the Giuliani raids are huge, a much bigger deal is the raid on Victoria Toensing’s home….That’s the one to watch.” https://t.co/VWdvB85UiF
— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) April 28, 2021
People again asking about "secret" pardon for Giuliani in drawer somewhere. Very unlikely. 1) it's not provided for in pardon power & has never been done–but that's not 100% of an answer w/ Trump;2) the only drawer, it could be in is the WH Counsel's ofc, ie Biden Admin wd have.
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) April 28, 2021
THIS WILL BE UPDATED FURTHER.
REFRESH TME TO GET THE LATEST.