A lawyer for former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the Justice Department revealed on a Thursday conference call that the feds had penetrated Giuliani’s iCloud long before Wednesday’s search warrants were executed.
“I was told about it today in a conference call with the [U.S.] Attorney’s office,” attorney Robert Costello, a longtime friend of Giuliani’s, told The Daily Beast on Thursday night. “They told me they obtained a ‘covert warrant’ for Giuliani’s iCloud account in ‘late 2019.’ They have reviewed this information for a year and a half without telling us or [fellow Trump-aligned attorney] Victoria Toensing.”
During an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Thursday night, Giuliani himself briefly referenced the warrant to search his iCloud account. “In the middle of the impeachment defense, they invaded, without telling me, my iCloud,” the Trump confidant said. “They took documents that are privileged. And then they unilaterally decided what they could read and not read. So the prosecutors at the Justice Department spied on me.”
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday evening.
It’s unclear what prosecutors may have obtained from the search of Giuliani’s iCloud account, but such accounts can store photos, text messages, emails, and a range of data from an Apple device’s applications, depending on the user’s settings.
On Thursday evening, The New York Times reported that the search warrant served on Giuliani’s apartment this week was investigating possible violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act by the former New York mayor in connection with his successful attempts to have former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired from her job in Kyiv. The law mandates that Americans register with the Justice Department when seeking to lobby the U.S. on behalf of foreign principals.
Asked by The Daily Beast on Thursday if the feds were looking for information on Giuliani’s seized devices regarding Yovanovitch, her ouster, and events leading up to it, Costello responded, “yes.”
Giuliani spent much of the spring of 2019 engaged in a smear campaign against the former ambassador, according to evidence and testimony presented in Trump’s first impeachment trial. According to the Times, prosecutors are particularly interested in Giuliani’s conversations with former top Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, who had clashed with the U.S. envoy in Ukraine.
The investigation of Giuliani reportedly grew out of the investigation into and charges against his former business associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who had hired Giuliani as a consultant to assist with their insurance venture, Fraud Guarantee.
In a late 2019 indictment, prosecutors accused the two men of acting as conduits for illegal foreign campaign contributions to American politicians. As part of the effort, prosecutors said that Parnas urged a member of Congress, subsequently identified as Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), to assist in efforts to remove Yovanovitch as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The move, according to the indictment, was “conducted, at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials.”
Lutsenko was one of those Ukrainian government officials mentioned in the 2019 indictment, NBC News reported at the time.