Rudy Giuliani’s New York City apartment was raided by federal investigators early morning Wednesday. Both Giuliani’s apartment and office in Manhattan were stormed by feds, who performed thorough searches and seized electronic devices.
The raid was executed after authorities obtained search warrants for the investigation into Giuliani’s Ukraine dealings. The New York Times first reported on the incident, claiming investigators performed the search and seizures at about 6 a.m. EST.
The criminal investigation into the former NYC mayor and personal lawyer for President Donald Trump ramped up recently, as suggested by the search warrant. Another warrant allowed investigators to search the Washington D.C. home of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer heavily connected with Rudy Giuliani and was also involved in digging up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden just before the 2020 election.
The investigation is trying to understand what happened during Trump’s administration and whether he illegally lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of Ukraine in 2019. According to Robert Costello, Giuliani’s lawyer, who spoke with The Wall Street Journal, the search warrant sought communications between Giuliani and individuals like a columnist, John Solomon, who had contacted Giuliana regarding the lawyer’s attempt to get Ukraine to open an investigation on Biden.
The search warrant came after months of the F.B.I. and the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan vying for the document and justification to search Giuliani’s properties. The change came recently, after the election of President Joe Biden in November. Previously, the Justice Department under President Trump issues roadblocks to the warrant. Those blocks were lifted after Biden confirmed Merrick B. Garland as attorney general.
According to former federal prosecutor Neama Rahman, obtaining the search warrant and subsequently seizing Giuliani’s electronic devices is “a huge development.” Rahman told The Daily Beast that “Federal search warrants of lawyer offices or homes generally have to be approved by high-level Department of Justice officials in Washington D.C. because of the sensitive nature of attorney-client communications and attorney work product.”
“In addition, like any search warrant, a District Judge found that there is probable cause that Giuliani’s apartment and electronic devices contain instrumentalities of a crime,” Rahman continued. “The next step is for a ‘taint team’ to review the seized materials to ensure that the federal agents and prosecutors who are actually handling the investigation do not access any privileged materials.”
The Daily Beast received word from another former federal law enforcement official, who explained that the search warrants were executed “much later than the investigators would have liked—really it’s a perfect example of how political interference in a criminal case causes concrete legal problems [since] when you lose six months, it gives a person like Rudy a chance to do what I suspect he’s already done, which is to purge all of his s–t.”
It is a starkly different take than Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello had. Costello labeled the searches unnecessary, according to The Times, because Rudy Giuliani had already told authorities that he would answer the prosecutor’s questions, besides his private communication with Donald Trump.
Costello claimed that “what they did today was legal thuggery. Why would you do this to anyone, let alone someone who was the associate attorney general, United States attorney, the mayor of New York City, and the personal lawyer to the 45th president of the United States.”
The investigation first began after two Soviet-born men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, aided Giuliani’s mission in Ukraine to reveal damning information about Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The investigators have looked into Giuliani’s business dealings with the country, as well as his role in influencing the Trump administration to get rid of the American ambassador to Ukraine. Parnas and Fruman were later indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, alleging that they participated in the ousting of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and helped funnel campaign donations to U.S. politicians.
Giuliani’s investigation is still underway and there has been no confirmation as to what investigators uncovered in his Park Ave. office and Madison Avenue apartment. According to The Times, this was not the first time a Trump lawyer has been the subject of multiple search warrants. Michal D. Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance and financial crimes. The raid on Cohen’s office was deemed “disgraceful” by the former president. Trump has yet to comment on the raid in Giuliani’s private office and home.