clearn.png
Thursday October 21st, 2021 2:22AM

Feds raid Giuliani's home, office, escalating criminal probe

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal agents raided Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office Wednesday, seizing computers and cellphones in a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into the business dealings of former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

Giuliani, the 76-year-old former New York City mayor once celebrated for his leadership after 9/11, has been under federal scrutiny for several years over his ties to Ukraine. The dual searches sent the strongest signal yet that he could eventually face federal charges.

Agents searched Giuliani’s Madison Avenue apartment and Park Avenue office, people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The warrants, which required approval from the top levels of the Justice Department, signify that prosecutors believe they have probable cause that Giuliani committed a federal crime — though they do not guarantee that charges will materialize.

A third search warrant was served on a phone belonging to Washington lawyer Victoria Toensing, a former federal prosecutor and close ally of Giuliani and Trump. Her law firm issued a statement saying she was informed that she is not a target of the investigation.

The full scope of the investigation is unclear, but it at least partly involves Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine, law enforcement officials have told the AP.

The people discussing the searches and Wednesday's developments could not do so publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. News of the search was first reported by The New York Times.

In a statement issued through his lawyer, Giuliani accused federal authorities of a “corrupt double standard,” invoking allegations he's pushed against prominent Democrats, and said that the Justice Department was “running rough shod over the constitutional rights of anyone involved in, or legally defending, former President Donald J. Trump."

“Mr. Giuliani respects the law, and he can demonstrate that his conduct as a lawyer and a citizen was absolutely legal and ethical,” the statement said.

Trump told Fox Business on Thursday that Giuliani was "the greatest mayor in the history of New York” and “a great patriot.”

“It’s very, very unfair,” he said of what happened Wednesday. “Rudy loves this country so much, it is so terrible when you see things that are going on in our country with the corruption and the problems and then they go after Rudy Giuliani."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday on CNN that the White House was given no heads’ up on the fact the raid was coming. The Justice Department, she said, "is independent now. They’re gonna make their own decisions, take their own actions. That’s how the president wants it.”

Bernie Kerik, who served as New York City’s police commissioner during the Sept. 11 attacks and is a longtime Giuliani friend, said the former mayor called him as agents were searching his home on Wednesday morning. Kerik, who was pardoned by Trump for felony convictions that put him behind bars for three years, declined to describe his friend’s mood or reaction, but expressed alarm at the raid, saying agents “shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

“I think it’s extremely concerning,” he said.

Giuliani's son, Andrew Giuliani, told reporters the raids were “disgusting" and “absolutely absurd.”

A Justice Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI’s New York office declined to comment.

The federal probe into Giuliani's Ukraine dealings stalled last year because of a dispute over investigative tactics as Trump unsuccessfully sought a second term. Giuliani subsequently took on a leading role in disputing the election results on the Republican's behalf.

Wednesday's raids came months after Trump left office and lost his ability to pardon allies for federal crimes. The former president himself no longer enjoys the legal protections the Oval Office once provided him — though there is no indication Trump is eyed in this probe.

Trump’s spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about Wednesday’s events.

Many people in Trump’s orbit have been ensnared in previous federal investigations, including special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian election interference. Some, like former Gen. Michael Flynn, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, were pardoned. While there were discussions about a pre-emptive pardon for Giuliani, it did not materialize.

Giuliani was central to the then-president’s efforts to dig up dirt against Democratic rival Joe Biden and to press Ukraine for an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter — who himself now faces a criminal tax probe by the Justice Department.

Giuliani also sought to undermine former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was pushed out on Trump’s orders, and met several times with a Ukrainian lawmaker who released edited recordings of Biden in an effort to smear him before the election.

Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, said the warrants involved an allegation that Giuliani failed to register as a foreign agent and that investigative documents mentioned John Solomon, a former columnist and frequent Fox News commentator with close ties to Giuliani, who pushed baseless or unsubstantiated allegations involving Ukraine and Biden during the 2020 election.

Phone records published by House Democrats in 2019 in the wake of Trump’s first impeachment trial showed frequent contacts involving Giuliani, Solomon and Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate who is under indictment on charges of using foreign money to make illegal campaign contributions.

Contacted Wednesday, Solomon said it was news to him that the Justice Department was interested in any communications he had with Giuliani, though he said it was not entirely surprising given the issues raised in the impeachment trial.

“He was someone that tried to pass information to me. I didn’t use most of it,” Solomon said of Giuliani. “If they want to look at that, there’s not going to be anything surprising in it.”

Everything was sitting “in plain view,” Solomon said. He said he believed his reporting had “stood the test of time” and maintained that he was “unaware of a single factual error” in any of his stories.

Solomon’s former employer, The Hill newspaper, published a review last year of some of his columns and determined they were lacking in context and missing key disclosures. Solomon previously worked for The Associated Press, departing the news organization in 2006.

The federal Foreign Agents Registration Act requires people who lobby on behalf of a foreign government or entity to register with the Justice Department. The once-obscure law, aimed at improving transparency, has received a burst of attention in recent years — particularly during Mueller's probe, which revealed an array of foreign influence operations in the U.S.

Federal prosecutors in the Manhattan office Giuliani himself once led — springing to prominence in the 1980s with high-profile prosecutions of Mafia figures — had pushed last year for a search warrant for records. Those included some of Giuliani’s communications, but officials in the Trump-era Justice Department would not sign off on the request, according to multiple people who insisted on anonymity to speak about the ongoing investigation with which they were familiar.

Officials in the then-deputy attorney general’s office raised concerns about both the scope of the request, which they thought would contain communications that could be covered by legal privilege between Giuliani and Trump, and the method of obtaining the records, three of the people said.

The issue was widely expected to be revisited by the Justice Department once Attorney General Merrick Garland assumed office, given the need for the department's upper echelons to sign off on warrants served on lawyers. Garland was confirmed last month, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco was confirmed to her position and sworn in last week.

___

Tucker reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Larry Neumeister and Tom Hays in New York, and Colleen Long and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed reporting.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, AP Business, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Feds raid Giuliani's home, office, escalating criminal probe
A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that federal investigators have executed search warrants at Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan residence and office
5:00PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Video: Chicago man had gun, back turned when police shot him
Newly released video shows that a 22-year-old Chicago man who was fleeing from police had his back turned and appeared to have a gun when an officer fatally shot him
4:55PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Fed keeps key rate near zero, sees inflation as 'transitory'
The Federal Reserve is keeping its ultra-low interest rate policies in place, a sign that it wants to see more evidence of a strengthening economic recovery before it would consider easing its support
4:52PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Sledgehammer attack damages Guadalupe mural at LA church
A man has used a sledgehammer to smash the face of a Virgin of Guadalupe mural painted on tiles at a Los Angeles church
4:26PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Columbus mayor requests federal probe of police force
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther sent a letter Wednesday to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation into the city’s police department following a spate of police killings of Black people
4:23PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Supreme Court affirms block of key PolyMet mine permit
The Minnesota Supreme Court has handed a victory to environmentalists in the long-running battle over the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine
4:15PM ( 48 minutes ago )
AP National News
Wary Supreme Court weighs student's Snapchat profanity case
A wary Supreme Court has weighed whether public schools can discipline students for things they say off campus
3:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pacific Northwest faces shutdowns amid rising virus cases
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington, their governors quickly reacted with shutdowns
3:01PM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden to pitch sweeping 'family plan' in speech to Congress
President Joe Biden will use his first joint address to Congress to pitch a $1.8 trillion investment in children, families and education that would transform the role government plays in American life
2:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Harris, Pelosi to make history seated behind Biden at speech
Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are set to make history as the first two women to share the stage in Congress during a presidential address
3:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
Moldova's president calls early election for July 11
Moldova’s Constitutional Court has canceled a state of emergency introduced to combat COVID-19 infections, enabling President Maia Sandu to dissolve parliament and call for an early election on July 11
3:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Russian minister: US-Russia ties worse than during Cold War
Russia’s top diplomat says his country's relations with the United States are even worse now than during Cold War times because of a lack of mutual respect
11:36AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Elections
Stock indexes slip after Federal Reserve leaves rates alone
Major U.S. stock indexes ended slightly lower on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged near zero, even as it noted recent improvement in the economy
4:07PM ( 57 minutes ago )
US will pay $44 million in age-bias case by ex-FAA workers
The federal government will pay nearly $44 million to settle claims made 16 years ago that it discriminated against hundreds of older workers by outsourcing their jobs to the private sector
4:05PM ( 59 minutes ago )
BioNTech boss strikes upbeat note on Europe's vaccine drive
The head of German pharmaceutical company BioNTech says more than half of Europe's population should have received the coronavirus vaccine in the next two months, allowing lockdown rules to be eased
3:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Sen. Johnson may offer insight into GOP's 2022 positioning
Sen. Ron Johnson is in an uncomfortable class of his own
8:47AM ( 3 days ago )
Bitcoin millionaire puts money on Greens in German election
A German software developer who made a fortune from bitcoin has given the environmentalist Green Party one of the biggest political donations in the country’s history
11:45AM ( 4 days ago )
Caitlyn Jenner adds celebrity to run for California governor
Caitlyn Jenner begins her campaign for California governor with a prized commodity for a candidate – celebrity
12:02AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Video: Chicago man had gun, back turned when police shot him
Newly released video shows that a 22-year-old Chicago man who was fleeing from police had his back turned and appeared to have a gun when an officer fatally shot him
4:55PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Fed keeps key rate near zero, sees inflation as 'transitory'
The Federal Reserve is keeping its ultra-low interest rate policies in place, a sign that it wants to see more evidence of a strengthening economic recovery before it would consider easing its support
4:52PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Apple profit soars in latest quarter on higher iPhone sales
Demand for the iPhone led Apple's profits to more than double in the January-March period as the tech giant continued to capitalize on smartphone addiction
4:42PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Astronaut Michael Collins, Apollo 11 pilot, dead of cancer
Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has died at age 90
4:40PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Feds release videos of Jan. 6 riot showing police assault
Federal authorities have released videos showing Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick being attacked with a chemical spray as the pro-Trump mob descended on the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection
4:28PM ( 35 minutes ago )