It’s been an interesting day for the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. After federal authorities arrested two Ukrainian-born businessmen from Florida with close ties to the former New York City Mayor on charges of violating campaign finance law, former federal prosecutors said Giuliani should be worried.
Appearing on MSNBC Live with Katy Tur Thursday afternoon, MSNBC legal analyst and former Southern District of New York (SDNY) federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah said the arrests of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman have put Giuliani in a precarious spot.
“I think he should be very worried right now,” Rocah said. “There is no question. We’ve all been talking about how frustrated we are about Congress not having any real leverage, even when it subpoenas – the SDNY has real leverage here with these men. And if they were involved – which it appears they were – in other criminal schemes with Giuliani, they are going to have a great incentive to talk to the SDNY about that.”
Rocah also said the arrests could cause major problems for President Donald Trump in his impeachment fight with House Democrats. Stipulating that the SDNY does not ordinarily share information relating to a criminal case with Congress, she said the atypical circumstances at in this particular matter could lead to a departure from that protocol.
“It’s not typically the way things are done, but this is a very usual circumstance and I would think that if there’s information relevant to an impeachment investigation, as opposed to regular congressional oversight, that they’ll find a way to share it if it’s not grand jury information,” Rocah said.
It likely won’t help that only hours before they were arrested with one-way tickets out of the country, Parnas and Fruman reportedly had lunch with Giuliani at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said Giuliani would be in particular trouble if he was aware the campaign finance violations were taking place. He also suggested Giuliani should be worried.
“If Giuliani still testifies, Senators should ask him what he knew about this scheme and what, if anything, he did to aid that effort,” Mariotti tweeted. “Anyone who knows about criminal activity and takes concrete steps to help make it succeed is criminally responsible for the underlying crime.”
Harry Litman, a former U.S. Attorney and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General who is a columnist for the Washington Post, said the whole scenario does not bode well for Giuliani.
“What a tangled web Rudy [Giuliani] weaves,” Litman tweeted minutes after the news broke. “To a prosecutor’s eye, this really looks increasingly like one big scheme, overseen by Trump and Giuliani, to obtain illegal assistance from Ukraine in the 2020 election.”
“It’s a total spider’s web,” Litman continued, “Congressman #1 [is] Pete Sessions. Giuliani headlined a fundraiser for him last year (he lost). What are the odds that the SDNY basically knows everywhere Rudy has been in the last month or so…”.
It seems investigators already are examining Giuliani’s financial dealings with Parnas and Fruman.
Giuliani told CNN he is not aware of any law enforcement scrutiny on his financial dealings with the men and he said he has not been interviewed by the FBI in the investigation.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) October 10, 2019
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]