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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Giuliani won’t face criminal charges in Ukraine lobbying probe

The Southern District of New York will not indict the former New York City mayor on charges arising from its examination of whether Giuliani's lobbying on behalf of Trump in Ukraine violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

MANHATTAN (CN) — New York federal prosecutors will not be bringing any criminal charges against Rudy Giuliani in connection with the office's probe into Ukraine lobbying efforts by former President Donald Trump’s onetime personal attorney, the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan announced in a letter Monday afternoon.

Investigators from the Southern District of New York conducted sunrise raids of Giuliani’s New York office and apartment in April 2021, seizing the former New York City mayor’s cell phones and computers, but that grand jury investigation will not result in charges against him.

“Based on information currently available to the government, criminal charges are not forthcoming,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York concluded in a two-sentence letter to U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken.

Giuliani, a Republican, quickly celebrated the office’s decision to ultimately not bring charges. “COMPLETE & TOTAL VINDICATION,” he wrote on Twitter shortly after the government’s letter was made public.

"I wasn't even a ham sandwich," he declared during a rambling livestream later Monday evening, illustrating how the famously aggressive federal prosecutors did not have "the lowest level of evidence" necessary to indict him over foreign lobbying.

Prosecutors were examining Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainian figures and whether he violated Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law governing lobbying on behalf of foreign countries or entities.

Giuliani’s attorney in the case, Robert Costello, told Courthouse News that the U.S. attorney’s office had declined to inform them of the subject of the investigation until ten months after the raid.

“We’re obviously very pleased at the result, but I’m not at all surprised since this is what I’ve been saying on Mayor Giuliani’s behalf for almost three years,” he said in a phone interview Monday. “Frankly, the prosecutors on the case did the right thing by breaking with office tradition, making a public filing like this and we appreciate that,” the lawyer added.

Giuliani has stated all of his activities in Ukraine were conducted on behalf of Trump. At the time, Giuliani was leading a campaign to press Ukraine for an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, before Biden was elected president.

The announcement was included in the government’s letter formally asking Obama-appointed judge Oetken to terminate the services of former federal judge Barbara Jones, who was tapped as special master to review for privilege the findings of Giuliani’s warrant, as well as a separate warrant, executed the same day, to search a previously seized electronic device belonging to attorney Victoria Toensing.

Three years earlier, Jones was picked to review materials gathered from a search warrant on the apartment, hotel and office of Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime personal attorney.

Jones, now a partner at Bracewell LLP, was appointed to the bench in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, after working as a federal prosecutor and as chief assistant to Robert Morgenthau when Morgenthau was Manhattan district attorney.

Federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York had been coordinating an ongoing investigation with Justice Department officials in Washington for months prior to the April 2021 raids, seeking access to Giuliani’s phone and electronic communications, NBC reported in December 2020.

Giuliani’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election have landed him as a co-defendant in multiple defamation cases, including suits in D.C. federal court and Manhattan Supreme Court.

Prior to serving as New York City’s mayor from 1994 to 2001, Giuliani himself led the so-called “Sovereign District” now investigating him, where he served as the office’s top prosecutor, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, from June 3, 1983 until January 1, 1989.

Earlier this month, another Trump ally, Tom Barrack, was acquitted of acting as an unregistered agent of the United Arab Emirates.

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Categories / Criminal, Government, Law, Politics

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