Court filings unsealed on Tuesday suggest that Rudy Giuliani’s investigation by federal authorities is more expansive than previously known.
Though prior reporting indicated that prosecutors had been scrutinizing the ex-New York City mayor’s dealings in Ukraine, a memo from his attorney Robert Costello suggests that investigators are also looking into a trip Giuliani took to Poland two years ago.
“The investigation being conducted by the Government is alleged by them, to be in search of a possible [Foreign Agents Registration Act] violation involving Ukrainian individuals, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and the office of the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine; a trip by Giuliani to Poland in 2019 and issues involving Franklin Templeton and funds misappropriated from the [sic] Ukraine,” the memo states.
The filing misspells the former ambassador’s first name as “Maria,” an error by Giuliani’s lawyer that has been edited in this story for clarity.
“Mr. Giuliani Should Have Known Those Claims Were Suspect”
During former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment proceedings, Yovanovitch testified that she did not know why Giuliani smeared her.
“What I can say is that Mr. Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect — coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,” the former ambassador said.
The House Impeachment Report found that Giuliani’s attacks against Yovanovitch came from a Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, “widely viewed to be corrupt.”
Lutsenko peddled false information about Yovanovitch to Giuliani and his then-associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman in an effort to exact revenge on the ambassador for her anti-corruption efforts, also promoting debunked conspiracy theories about the Bidens in an effort to damage Trump’s most formidable opponent, the report found.
According to Giuliani’s lawyer, the second aspect of the government’s investigation probes a trip that the former mayor took to Poland in 2019.
That year, Giuliani went to Warsaw to take part in a rally in support of the controversial political organization Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, better known as the MEK.
When USA Today covered his appearance there, the paper reported that Giuliani would not disclose whether he was being paid to attend, but reporters noted that MEK’s high-profile speakers “routinely get paid tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees.”
What Giuliani’s legal team characterizes as the third prong of the investigation contains scant context, but Giuliani has pushed a conspiracy theory about the U.S. investment firm mentioned in service of Trump’s defense against his first impeachment.
The theory—which ropes in former President Barack Obama and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)—goes that former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych laundered $7.5 billion in a conspiracy involving Franklin Templeton, which purchased that much in Ukrainian bonds more than a decade ago, according to NBC.
Lutsenko also peddled that theory, the network noted.
Filed under seal on Aug. 27 before its disclosure on Tuesday, the Giuliani memo largely complained about the scope of the government’s search, which he claimed sought some 26 years of data. Giuliani and the government subsequently agreed to narrow the scope of the search from Jan. 1, 2018, onward.
Around the time of the raid on Giuliani’s home, federal authorities also seized information belonging to lawyer Victoria Toensing. Giuliani and Toensing are now both fighting their attorney-client privilege battles on the same docket. Together with her husband, Joseph diGenova, Toensing frequently appeared in the past on Fox News and on other conservative networks. They also represented Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who has been fighting extradition from Austria for more than half a decade on a conspiracy indictment.
Though commonly reported to be tied to the misinformation campaign against the Bidens, Firtash emphatically denies this link and the criminal allegations against him from the Department of Justice.
On Sept. 16, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken granted Firtash’s intervention in Toensing’s discovery dispute, but filings predating that ruling show that Toensing argued that was unnecessary because she never waived “spousal privilege.”
“These communications are privileged on their face and require no review or analysis to establish that privilege, which remains secure absent some extraordinary showing and justification from the Government, which it has not made,” Toensing’s lawyer Michael J. Bowe wrote on Sept. 13. “To be clear, whether any of Ms. Toensing’s clients elect to intervene or direct her to participate in the Special Master process on their behalf has nothing to do with her personal privileges, which she does not waive.”
The government’s reply to Giuliani’s unsealed filings have not been made public by press time.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which Giuliani previously led before finding himself within its investigative sights, declined to comment.
Read Giuliani’s memo below:
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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