Prosecutors: No criminal charges expected from Giuliani raid
Nov 14, 2022, 2:34 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2022, 12:10 am
NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will not face criminal charges over his interactions with Ukrainian figures in the runup to the 2020 presidential election, federal prosecutors revealed in a letter to a judge Monday.
Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said they made the decision after reviewing electronic evidence gathered in raids on Giuliani’s home and law office in April 2021.
Federal prosecutors had examined whether Giuliani should have registered as a foreign agent because of his dealings with Ukrainians who wanted his help pressuring then-President Donald Trump’s administration, while he was looking for their help launching an investigation that might hurt Democratic rival Joe Biden.
“Based on information currently available to the Government, criminal charges are not forthcoming,” they wrote. They said the grand jury probe that led to the seizure of Giuliani’s electronic devices had concluded.
Giuliani tweeted Monday that it was a “COMPLETE & TOTAL VINDICATION.”
“A prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich. I wasn’t even a ham sandwich,” Giuliani, himself a former prosecutor, said later on a Twitter broadcast, a reference to the level of evidence needed to justify charges.
“In my business, we would call that total victory,” his lawyer, Robert Costello, told The Associated Press. “We appreciate what the U.S. attorney’s (office) has done. We only wish they had done it a lot sooner.”
Sixteen of Giuliani’s devices were seized as part of a federal investigation into whether the bellicose Republican ally of Trump violated a law governing lobbying on behalf of foreign countries or entities.
The spectacle of agents carting off computers and cellphones during the searches in Manhattan appeared to signal that the former New York City mayor — once celebrated for his leadership after 9/11 — was in a legal bind that would be hard to escape.
“Today they found there’s no probable cause,” he said on his livestream. “From the day I began representing Donald J. Trump, I committed no crime, and I’m supposed to say thank you? Thank you for finding out that I didn’t commit a crime? I know I didn’t commit a crime.”
Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for federal prosecutors, declined to comment on the court filing.
Giuliani, 78, has been under federal scrutiny for several years over his work in Ukraine. He was central to Trump’s efforts to dig up dirt against Biden and to press Ukraine for an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter.
Giuliani sought to undermine Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who was pushed out on Trump’s orders. He also met several times with a Ukrainian lawmaker who released edited recordings of Biden in an effort to smear him before the election.
The strategy may have backfired: The U.S. House later impeached Trump for holding back nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine while he pressured that country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to open an investigation of Democrats.
Giuliani, a onetime presidential candidate, vehemently denied any wrongdoing. At the time of the raids, he accused the Justice Department of “running roughshod over the constitutional rights of anyone involved in, or legally defending, former President Donald J. Trump.”
In the past several months, news of any further progress on the review or any other aspect of the case largely evaporated. Prosecutors in New York went silent, a signal they were unlikely to add Giuliani to the long list of Trump associates charged with a federal crime.
During the investigation, a former federal judge was appointed to review whether any of the information seized from Giuliani’s phones and computers was protected by attorney client privilege because of his role as one of Trump’s lawyers.
His communications with clients are generally protected by law, though there are exceptions.
The letter Monday was prompted in part by the need for prosecutors to tell a judge that the court-appointed monitor was no longer needed.
The monitor, Barbara S. Jones, filed an initial report in January that revealed Giuliani’s lawyers had asked her to block prosecutors from seeing just three of 2,200 seized electronic files deemed relevant to the investigation.
Giuliani remains a target of a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating attempts by Trump and others to overturn the former president’s 2020 election defeat in Georgia.
Giuliani testified before the grand jury in August, but he was sanguine when he returned to New York, saying he had “satisfied his obligation under the subpoena.”
Other figures swept up in the federal investigation of Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine wound up facing criminal charges.
Lev Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman who had helped Giuliani connect with Ukrainian figures, was sentenced in June to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes unrelated to Giuliani.
___ Tucker reported from Washington.
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