Federal investigators in Manhattan executed a search warrant on Wednesday at the Upper East Side apartment of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, as part of a criminal investigation into Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine.
That’s according to the New York Times, which cited three people with knowledge of the matter. Investigators reportedly confiscated Guiliani’s electronic devices as part of the search warrant.
The Times reported that the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI had been trying to secure a search warrant for Giuliani’s phones for months and that executing a search warrant against a lawyer for a former president “marks a major turning point in the long-running investigation into Mr. Giuliani.”
With the Justice Department now under President Joe Biden’s control, being led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, the pathway has been cleared to pursue Giuliani after the previous administration reportedly blocked the investigation.
At issue is whether Giuliani “illegally lobbied the Trump administration in 2019 on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs, who at the same time were helping Mr. Giuliani search for dirt on Mr. Trump’s political rivals, including President Biden, who was then a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination,” the paper reported.
More from the Times:
The investigation of Mr. Giuliani grew out of a case against two Soviet-born men who aided his mission in Ukraine to unearth damaging information about Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. The prosecutors charged the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, with unrelated crimes in late 2019 and a trial is scheduled for October.
While investigating Mr. Giuliani, prosecutors have examined, among other things, his potential business dealings in Ukraine and his role in pushing the Trump administration to oust the American ambassador to Ukraine, which was the subject of testimony at Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.
As he was pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate the Bidens, Mr. Giuliani became fixated on removing the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, whom he saw as an obstacle to those efforts. At the urging of Mr. Giuliani and other Republicans, Mr. Trump ultimately ousted Ms. Yovanovitch.
It’s a federal violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, to influence or lobby the U.S. government at the request or direction of a foreign official without disclosing it to the Justice Department.
The Southern District of New York, under the leadership of U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, is handling the investigation.
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