Prosecutors: Giuliani won’t be charged over Ukraine-related actions
The episode, including an attempt by Giuliani to seek the ouster of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, spurred the first impeachment of Trump by the House.
The FBI raids against Giuliani last year seemed to signal a particularly grave criminal investigation, since the sign-off of senior Justice Department officials is required for searches of premises used by lawyers.
However, in recent months the probe seemed to have petered out. On Monday, Manhattan-based federal prosecutors overseeing the investigation told a federal judge there was no long a need for a court-appointed special master to oversee the sifting of records from Giuliani’s home and office because the investigation had essentially ended.
“The Government writes to notify the Court that the grand jury investigation that led to the issuance of the above-referenced warrants has concluded, and that based on information currently available to the Government, criminal charges are not forthcoming,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah Donaleski and other prosecutors wrote in a two-sentence letter to Judge J. Paul Oetken. The letter did not provide further details on why the probe was being dropped.
A spokesperson for Giuliani, Ted Goodman, said in a statement late Monday that the prosecutors’ move was a clear victory for the former mayor.
“The mayor has been completely and totally vindicated,” Goodman said.
“Myself and Mayor Giuliani are pleased, but not surprised by the result,” Giuliani lawyer Robert Costello told POLITICO Monday afternoon. “They [prosecutors] deviated from office practice by filing this, which is what I had asked for for months. … The guy’s reputation has been trashed over this kind of stuff and he deserves this statement and he got it today.”
Asked how prosecutors met the supposedly high bar of evidence needed to search an attorney’s office or email account, yet came up without enough evidence to charge a crime, Costello said he believes the U.S. Attorney’s office was tricked.
“I think the short answer you’re looking for is: somebody lied to them. Somebody gave them alleged probable cause to believe that Rudy Giuliani committed a crime….That’s clearly turned out not the be the case,” said Costello.
Goodman echoed that point, saying: “What was the probable cause for the seizure of his iCloud, the pre-dawn raid of his home, and his law office? … The mayor was spot on when he referred to these actions as dangerous, reckless and unconstitutional.”
While Giuliani seems unlikely to face federal criminal charges, he continues to face a series of legal headaches from his activities following the 2020 presidential election. He’s been temporarily disbarred in New York state and in Washington, D.C., while bar discipline proceedings take place in connection with charges he advanced specious claims while seeking to undermine Joe Biden’s victory. Giuliani is also facing civil defamation lawsuits over his claims that various voting machines were rigged to undercount Trump votes. And the former mayor recently testified before a grand jury in Georgia investigating efforts to interfere with that state’s vote count in 2020.
Four other men, including at least three associated of Giuliani, were sentenced to prison by Oetken in related investigations carried out by the same prosecutors.
Lev Parnas, who worked with Giuliani on Ukraine-related matters, was sentenced to a year and eight months in prison for various offenses including swindling backers of a venture called “Fraud Guarantee.” Giuliani took a $500,000 consulting fee for his work related to the business, but insisted that he was unaware of any fraud connected to the company.
Another man who was active in Giuliani’s Ukraine work, Igor Fruman, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for soliciting a campaign contribution from a Russian national.
Oetken also sentenced David Correia to a year and a day in prison for false statements and wire fraud as part of the “Fraud Guarantee” business.
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