According to Fox29
Federal agents raided Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office on 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 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, 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 home on Madison Avenue and his office on Park Avenue, people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The warrants, requiring approval from the top levels of the Justice Department, signify prosecutors believe they have probable cause that Giuliani committed a federal crime — though they don’t guarantee 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 released 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.
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 Wednesday.
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.
Many people in Trump’s orbit have previously been ensnared in federal investigations, namely special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference. But most of those criminal cases either fizzled or fell apart. Giuliani’s is different.
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.