Lawyers for Rudy Giuliani slammed prosecutors on Monday for secretly obtaining electronic access to the former New York City mayor’s accounts—likening the operation that resulted in the April 28 FBI raid of his home and office to that of a drug cartel takedown.
“Unfortunately for Giuliani, and even more unfortunately for the attorney-client privilege and executive deliberation privilege, and the public’s perception that those privileges are real, the SDNY simply chose to treat a distinguished lawyer as if he was the head of a drug cartel or a terrorist, in order to create maximum prejudicial coverage of both Giuliani, and his most well-known client—the former President of the United States,” the letter filed Monday on behalf of Giuliani states.
The letter is the first legal response from Giuliani’s team since the April 28 raid on Donald Trump’s former attorney’s Manhattan home and office. Federal prosecutors have asked the U.S. Southern District of New York to appoint a special master to review the evidence seized during the raid to ensure material that falls under attorney-client privilege isn’t released.
Giuliani’s lawyers, however, claimed Monday that the government’s push for a special master amounts to a “do over” after prosecutors failed to seek one in what they say was a similar search during the Trump administration.
When prosecutors seized contents of Giuliani’s iCloud account with an undisclosed 2019 search warrant, his attorneys claim that they assembled their own “secret taint team” to determine whether the information in the former New York City mayor’s iCloud account benefited from attorney-client privilege rather than asking a judge to appoint an independent special master to make those determinations.
They further allege that “the fruits of that 2019 search were certainly used in some part to secure the 2021 largely duplicative search warrant.” As a result, Giuliani’s attorneys have asked a federal judge to halt the appointment of a special master in the 2021 warrant to provide more time for them to review the circumstances and evidence supporting the 2019 search.
Giuliani’s team also complained about the government’s non-disclosure order issued alongside its fall 2019 iCloud warrant, in which prosecutors claimed that the existence of the warrant must remain secret because of the risk that Giuliani “might destroy evidence or intimidate witnesses.” His lawyers called the allegation “false” and “extremely damaging to Giuliani’s reputation” and demanded that the government reveal the evidence it used to back up the assertion.
Giuliani’s attorneys claim that prosecutors intentionally waited until the Biden administration took office and “senior members of the Justice Department had been removed and replaced by Biden appointees” to carry out the raid on their client’s apartment. As evidence, they claim that prosecutors applied for a warrant to search Giuliani’s devices twice before, once in November 2020 and again in January 2021, and were denied.
As previously reported by The Daily Beast, Giuliani’s attempts to get out of legal trouble have prompted the former mayor to unsuccessfully seek help from his former allies—including Trump. The former president, however, has been unwilling to help his embattled friend as the feds ramp up their probe into whether Giuliani’s work with Ukrainian officials during the last administration was illegal.
A separate letter was filed Monday on behalf of Victoria Toensing, a former top DOJ official and Giuliani associate who was also the subject of a search warrant on April 28. The letter, filed by her legal team, asks the government to return the materials seized during the raid at her D.C. home and asks that she be permitted “to effectively assert her client’s privilege protections and otherwise comply with her ethical obligations to inform them that the Government is in possession of potentially privileged and confidential materials.”
“To do so, Ms. Toensing should be afforded the same opportunity to review and assert the privilege that she and her clients would have had if this information were pursued through a subpoena as it normally would have been under similar circumstances,” the letter states, adding that prosecutors should disclose what information is under review so that Toensing may protect her clients.
The letter also mentions a December 2019 Google search warrant that was looking for information about Toensing’s client. Toensing’s lawyer said that while that search warrant was limited in scope, prior to Giuliani’s iCloud search warrant that “contained no such limitation even though it too contained privileged and confidential information concerning the same pending DOJ matter.”
“Moreover, neither warrant excluded such information from Google or iCloud production obligations, nor would either third party be equipt to do so if it did,” the letter mentions, adding that both warrants could leak information about an unrelated criminal matter.
Toensing’s lawyers also slammed the government’s request for a special master for the raid, adding that the information obtained in April is “virtually identical to those previously seized.” The lawyer now wants the data previously obtained to be returned and information on what prosecutors know.