Rudy Giuliani's allies return to desperately beg Trump for cash
Rudy Giuliani's allies are pressing former President Donald Trump's team to help pay for his former attorney's own growing legal bills as he faces multiple lawsuits over his efforts to overturn Trump's election loss.
Giuliani's attorney, son, and allies like convicted former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik have urged Trump aides to dip into his massive war chest to help cover the former New York City mayor's mounting lawyer bills after Giuliani's home was raided by the FBI last week in a years-long Justice Department investigation into his dealings in Ukraine, according to The New York Times. Giuliani also faces two multi-billion-dollar defamation lawsuits from voting tech firms Dominion and Smartmatic after he made false claims tying them to a baseless vote-switching conspiracy theory.
The pleas from Giuliani's supporters come after Trump refused to pay his former lawyer for his work on his election legal challenges. Trump "balked" at paying Giuliani after his associate sent a bill for $20,000 for a day of his work and told aides he did not want Giuliani to receive "any payment," according to the report. Trump ultimately agreed to reimburse Giuliani $200,000 for expenses but has "stridently refused to pay" Giuliani's fees.
The notoriously stingy former president bombarded supporters with fundraising appeals after his election loss, raising some $250 million to ostensibly fund his legal battle. But Trump spent a tiny fraction on actual legal costs as his many court challenges were quickly rejected by dozens of federal judges, including ones he appointed. Now, Giuliani's allies are asking Trump to use the quarter-billion he raised with the Republican National Committee to help pay Giuliani's costs in the federal probe and defamation lawsuits.
The federal investigation is focused on Giuliani's business dealings in Ukraine as he sought to help Trump find dirt that would damage President Joe Biden's then-nascent campaign. Prosecutors are reportedly looking at whether Giuliani lobbied the Trump administration to fire its ambassador to Ukraine on behalf of Ukrainian officials or oligarchs accused of corruption. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.
Giuliani also faces a $1.3 billion lawsuit from Dominion for making "demonstrably false" claims that the company's voting machines switched votes from Trump to Biden and a $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic, whose software he linked to the Dominion conspiracy even though it was not used in any of the states where Giuliani baselessly alleged election-rigging.
Kerik, who was appointed commissioner by Giuliani, took the complaints about the fees public on Twitter this week, though he aimed his attack at the RNC and avoided naming Trump, despite the fact that Giuliani was his personal attorney.
"I want to know what the @GOP did with the quarter of $1 billion they collected for the election legal fight," Kerik tweeted on Sunday. "Lawyers and law firms that didn't do shit were paid lots of money and the people that worked their ass off, got nothing."
Kerik privately made similar complaints to Trump's advisers, according to the Times, arguing that Giuliani incurred the growing legal costs because of actions he took on behalf of Trump. He has also argued that Trump used Giuliani's name to raise money for his futile election challenges.
Giuliani's son Andrew echoed Kerik's complaints in an interview with ABC News this week.
"I do think he should be indemnified," he said of his father. "I think all those Americans that donated after Nov. 3, they were donating for the legal defense fund. My father ran the legal team at that point. So I think it's very easy to make a very strong case for the fact that he and all the lawyers that worked on there should be indemnified… I would find it highly irregular if the president's lead counsel did not get indemnified."
Robert Costello, Giuliani's attorney, has also "raised the question of paying" Giuliani in discussions about the federal probe with one of Trump's lawyers, according to the Times. Another person close to Giuliani has argued that Trump needs to spend the leftover money on expenses related to his election effort because the funds were solicited for that purpose.
Giuliani's camp is also "disappointed" that he did not receive a pre-emptive pardon from Trump, according to the report, even though Giuliani declared in January that he did not need one because "I don't commit crimes."
Attorney Alan Dershowitz, who is advising Giuliani on his legal battles, told CNN that he also hopes that Trump will join the case because the FBI raid last week seized communications that may fall under attorney-client privilege. The Justice Department has since asked a court to appoint a special master to review the seized files to identify any potentially privileged materials.
"Hope the people whose information is privileged, like Donald Trump, would join the lawsuit and say look you can't see my stuff," Dershowitz told CNN, though Costello told the network that since Trump rarely texts or emails it is unlikely the seized files include direct communications with him. Costello told news outlets that the warrant served at Giuliani's home and office sought communications with about a dozen Ukrainian officials and others related to the ouster of former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Trump had a similar deal with former attorney Michael Cohen, whose home and office were likewise raided by the FBI in a sweeping federal probe in 2018. Trump joined Cohen in filing a civil action against federal prosecutors to prevent them from seeing potentially privileged material. Trump's company also paid some of Cohen's legal bills but cut him off after he agreed to cooperate with investigators. Cohen ultimately testified against Trump to former special counsel Bob Mueller and to Congress. He later sued the Trump Organization for refusing to pay $1.9 million in legal costs.
Cohen told CNN last week after the FBI raid that he warned Giuliani that Trump "doesn't care about anyone" and "that he will be the next one thrown under the bus." But Cohen added that "Trump is scared today" because "Rudy knows he's in trouble."
"I think Donald understands that Rudy will provide whatever information that he has to the [prosecutors]," Cohen explained, "because Rudy has no interest in going to prison and spending the golden years of his life behind bars. That I'm certain of."
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