Federal investigators executed a search warrant Wednesday at the Manhattan apartment of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump, as they probe his business dealings with Ukraine.
A lawyer for Giuliani, Bob Costello, confirmed that a search warrant had been executed. Electronic devices were among the items seized, according to The New York Times.
Giuliani, 76, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In addition to his Madison Avenue apartment, The Associated Press, citing an unnamed source, reported that investigators also executed a warrant at Giuliani’s office on Park Avenue.
Michael Cohen, a former personal lawyer to Trump who has become a critic of his former boss, tweeted: "Here we go folks!!!"
Giuliani has been under investigation for several years over his business dealings in Ukraine. Details of the searches were not immediately available.
Two former associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, have been charged with campaign finance violations and other crimes.
Parnas' and Fruman's work included efforts to help Giuliani dig up damaging information before the 2020 election about Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and what prosecutors called an effort to remove then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
The federal probe into Giuliani's overseas and business dealings stalled last year because of a dispute over investigative tactics as Trump sought reelection, and amid Giuliani’s prominent role in subsequently disputing the results of the contest on Trump’s behalf.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had pushed last year for a search warrant for records, including some of Giuliani’s communications, but officials in the Trump-era Justice Department would not sign off on the request, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation who insisted on anonymity to speak about an ongoing investigation.
Officials in the deputy attorney general’s office raised concerns about both the scope of the request, which they thought would contain communications that could be covered by legal privilege between Giuliani and Trump, and the method of obtaining the records, three of the people said. The people could not discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
The issue was widely expected to be revisited by the Justice Department once Attorney General Merrick Garland assumed office. Garland was confirmed last month and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco was confirmed to her position and sworn in last week. The Justice Department requires that applications for search warrants served on lawyers be approved by senior department officials.
The search warrant does not mean Giuliani committed a crime, but it signals that investigators persuaded a judge they believed criminal conduct occurred and that executing the warrant might uncover relevant evidence.
"This is a seismic moment in the investigation," said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
"It's a big deal to execute a search warrant concerning an attorney because of issues of attorney-client privilege," she said. "It's a bigger deal to execute a search warrant of an attorney who worked for the former president."
Giuliani began representing Trump in April 2018 in connection with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Giuliani gained early renown in the 1980s as the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, where he put leaders of five New York Mafia families in prison and successfully prosecuted Wall Street's "junk bond king," Michael Milken.
He later won wide acclaim as "America's Mayor" for his efforts in helping New York City recover from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Giuliani ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination
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