Former Chief of SDNY Criminal Division Floated as Possible Giuliani Attorney Hire

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, though initially resistant to hiring a criminal defense attorney, may have one candidate lined up who was in the past the Chief of Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).

Daniel Stein, now a partner at the Mayer Brown law firm, was named as a possible candidate to represent Giuliani on Thursday. According to CNN, Giuliani has been “in advanced discussions” to hire Stein, a veteran SDNY attorney who prosecuted white collar crimes.

Per his bio, Stein previously “oversaw all of the SDNY’s criminal prosecutions and investigations, including those involving securities fraud, insider trading, public corruption, foreign corrupt practices, criminal tax offenses, money laundering, economic sanctions, cybercrime, narcotics trafficking, violent crimes and terrorism.”

Giuliani, as you may know, used to be the U.S. Attorney at the Manhattan office that now views him as a subject in an ongoing criminal investigation. SDNY federal prosecutors charged Giuliani’s Ukrainian-Floridian clients and associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas for alleged campaign finance violations.

Giuliani has said that Parnas and his company Fraud Guarantee retained the services of his management and security firm Giuliani Partners LLC in August 2018 to consult on business technology and to provide legal advice on regulatory issues. Parnas and Fraud Guarantee reportedly paid Giuliani $500,000 in two installments. SDNY even subpoenaed former GOP representative Pete Sessions (Sessions was “Congressman-1” in the Parnas-Fruman indictment); Sessions’s knowledge of Giuliani’s dealings was reportedly a “primary focus” of the subpoena:

Mr. Sessions’ knowledge of Mr. Giuliani’s dealings is a primary focus of the subpoena, the people said. Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing and said he has had no indication his actions are being investigated by prosecutors.

There also is no indication that Mr. Sessions is a target of the investigation. Mr. Sessions is a longtime friend of Mr. Giuliani whose interactions with two of Mr. Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, was detailed in the indictment unsealed last week.

But there is also a related counterintelligence angle to the probe of Giuliani.

Importantly, unnamed people familiar with the matter who spoke with CNN say that charges against Giuliani are neither “certain” nor “imminent,” and prosecutors are aware that the 2020 election is not far off:

New York federal prosecutors examining Rudy Giuliani’s Ukrainian business dealings are mindful of both the approaching 2020 presidential election and of the difficulty of prosecuting foreign lobbying violations as they move forward in their investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.

These people say charges against President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer aren’t certain or imminent, but that Giuliani has come into prosecutors’ crosshairs as a central focus during the months-long inquiry.

Mayer Brown announced that Stein was joining the firm as a partner in Oct. 2016.

Interestingly enough, that announcement said Preet Bharara — the former SDNY U.S. Attorney President Trump famously fired — asked Stein to return to the SDNY in 2014.

[Image via Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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