Hoo Boy, the Feds Sure Have a Lot of Dirt on Big Rudy

Correction: Rudy is actually rather short.
Correction: Rudy is actually rather short.
Photo: Rey Del Rio (Getty Images)

Rudy Giuliani, gin-pickled simulacrum of a lawyer and former personal attorney to Donald Trump, is in even deeper shit than was previously known. And the shit he was in was already known to be very deep.

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Last month, federal agents raided Giuliani’s New York home and offices. For prosecutors to execute a search warrant on a lawyer is under most circumstances highly unusual, as judges tend to be wary of potentially compromising attorney-client privilege—and Giuliani’s VIP clients included the former president. The most likely explanation is that Giuliani is under investigation for alleged business ties to Ukrainian officials or businesses that he did not disclose to the Justice Department, putting him in violation of laws requiring registration of foreign agents. At the time, it was known the feds seized cell phones and other electronic devices from Giuliani’s possession. Now, according to CNN, a court filing by an attorney for an indicted former ally of Giuliani’s, Lev Parnas, shows a wide range of evidence has been assembled.

The prevailing theory was that Giuliani is being investigated for his role in a pressure campaign to remove the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Trump fired her in 2019; Yovanovitch’s removal later became a central matter in Trump’s first impeachment, as it emerged the ambassador had been standing in the way of a Trump plan to pressure the Ukrainian government into launching a sham investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Giuliani, who is not a good lawyer, has more or less publicly admitted she was fired to allow him to dig up dirt on Democrats. But at the same time, suspicions have floated he wanted a taste on the side from Ukrainian officials and businesses who wanted Yovanovitch removed for their own reasons—such as shady, now-former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, with whom Giuliani drew up consulting agreements worth hundreds of thousands of dollars he says were never executed.

According the CNN, the new evidence accidentally disclosed by the attorney for Parnas includes messages from email and iCloud accounts belonging to Lutsenko and the former head of the Ukrainian Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov, as well as the cell phone and iPad of Alexander Levin, a pro-Trump Ukrainian businessman. The feds also have “historical and prospective cell site information” relating to Giuliani and Victoria Toensing, another lawyer and Trump ally who similarly has a complicated web of connections to Giuliani and Ukraine. (Toensing, whose offices were raided at the same time as Giuliani’s, has long advocated laws allowing greater surveillance of U.S. citizens.)

Attorneys for Parnas, who is facing campaign finance charges also related to Ukrainian dealings, wrote that Parnas had not been advised as required by the discovery process about evidence against him which had emerged via warrants against Giuliani and others. According to CNN, that filing was formatted in a matter that allowed the redactions to easily be stripped by “copying and pasting them into another document.”

Other remaining and former members of Trump’s inner circle have reportedly been terrified that they could get roped into prosecutors’ ongoing cleanup of various underlings left legally exposed after his debacle of a presidency. The broad scope of the investigation into Giuliani probably isn’t very reassuring. Giuliani apparently had some kind of falling out with Trump over his legal incompetence and embarrassing antics and is no longer representing him; the ex-president also reportedly stiffed Giuliani, refusing to pay his legal bills.

This isn’t the only legal threat Giuliani is facing. After months of spreading conspiracy theories that an election tech manufacturer, Dominion Voting Systems, had helped Joe Biden and the Chinese government rig the 2020 elections, the attorney is attempting to have a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit dismissed.

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Correction: Trump’s firing of Marie Yovanovitch was a point of concern in the former president’s first impeachment, not his second. We regret the error.

Tom covers tech, politics, online extremism, and oddities for Gizmodo. His work has appeared on Mic, Yahoo News, AOL, HuffPo, Business Insider, Snoop Dogg's Merry Jane, Wonkette and The Daily Banter.

DISCUSSION

arcanumv
Arcanum Five

I wish I could get excited about this, but how many times have we been down a road like this before? A big investigation, lots of anticipation that Someone Big was finally going to prison, and then... crickets. Or pardons. Or foot-dragging in the relevant chambers of law and justice. Or no charges. Or weak charges and scolding instead of sentences with teeth.

We have a new administration now, so maybe we won’t have the Turd at the Top wiggling his tiny orange fingers in every pie to get his buddies off, but still... it’s hard to have much hope that Rudy and the rest of the Team Treason will go to prison.