The episode, including an attempt by Giuliani to seek the ouster of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, spurred Trump’s first impeachment by the House.
The FBI raids on Giuliani last year seemed to signal a particularly serious criminal investigation, since approval from senior Justice Department officials is required for searches of premises used by lawyers.
However, in recent months, the probe seemed to have run out of steam. On Monday, Manhattan-based federal prosecutors overseeing the investigation told a federal judge that it was no longer necessary for a court-appointed special petty officer to oversee the screening of records from Giuliani’s home and office, as the investigation was essentially over.
“The government is writing to advise the Court that the grand jury investigation that led to the issuance of the aforementioned warrants has been completed and that, based on the information currently available to the government, criminal charges are not forthcoming” said Assistant US 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 investigation was dropped.
A spokesman for Giuliani, Ted Goodman, said in a statement late Monday that prosecutors’ decision was a clear victory for the former mayor.
“The mayor has been completely and utterly vindicated,” Goodman said.
“I and Mayor Giuliani are pleased, but not surprised by the outcome,” Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, told POLITICO on Monday afternoon. “They [prosecutors] deviated from office practice in filing this, which I had been asking for for months. … The guy’s reputation has been trashed for this stuff and he deserves that statement and he got it today.
Asked how prosecutors hit the supposedly high evidentiary bar needed to search a lawyer’s office or an email account, but didn’t find enough evidence to charge a crime, Costello said that he thought the U.S. Attorney’s Office had been tricked.
“I think the short answer you’re looking for is: someone lied to them. Someone gave them so-called probable cause to believe that Rudy Giuliani had committed a crime… It clearly turned out that he didn’t,” Costello said.
Goodman echoed this point, saying, “What was the probable cause for the seizure of his iCloud, the pre-dawn raid of his home and his law firm? … The mayor was right when he called these actions dangerous, reckless and unconstitutional.”
Although Giuliani appears unlikely to face federal criminal charges, he continues to face a series of legal headaches from his activities after the 2020 presidential election. He was temporarily disbarred in the New York State and Washington, DC, while bar disciplinary proceedings are pending in connection with charges he advanced for specious allegations while seeking to undermine Joe Biden’s victory. Giuliani is also facing civil defamation lawsuits for his claims that various voting machines were rigged to undercount Trump’s votes. And the former mayor recently testified before a grand jury in Georgia to investigate efforts to interfere with that state’s 2020 vote count.
Four other men, including at least three associates of Giuliani, were sentenced to prison by Oetken in related investigations by the same prosecutors.
Lev Parnas, who worked with Giuliani on Ukraine-related issues, was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison for various offenses including defrauding the backers of a company called “Fraud Guarantee”. Giuliani took a $500,000 consulting fee for his work related to the company, but insisted he was unaware of any fraud related to the company.
Another man active in Giuliani’s Ukrainian 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 one year and one day in prison for misrepresentation and wire fraud in connection with the “Fraud Guarantee” activity.
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