Saturday, April 20, 2024

Justice Department executes warrant on Giuliani’s home, office


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NEW YORK – 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 executed a search warrant at the home of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer and Giuliani ally, a spokesperson for Toensing said. A person briefed on the matter later clarified that the house itself wasn’t searched but that a phone was handed over when agents arrived in the 6 a.m. hour

“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.

Giuliani’s son Andrew briefly stepped outside of his father’s Manhattan apartment on Wednesday afternoon to denounce the Department of Justice, saying that if this can happen to “the former president’s lawyer, this could happen to any American”.

“This is absolutely absurd and it’s the continued politicisation of the Justice Department that we have seen,” said the younger Giuliani, who worked in the Trump administration and is weighing a run for governor of New York.

“All I will say is this: To all Americans out there, our Justice Department should be independent on politics. Enough is enough, ladies and gentlemen,” he continued. “We cannot stand for this anymore.”

A White House official, however, said the Justice Department did not give them advance notice on the warrants. The White House has previously said it will not have any involvement in ongoing Justice Department investigations. (CNN)


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