Federal agents raided Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office Wednesday, seizing computers and cellphones in a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into the business dealings of former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.
Giuliani, the 76-year-old former New York City mayor once celebrated for his leadership after 9/11, has been under federal scrutiny for several years over his ties to Ukraine. The dual searches sent the strongest signal yet that he could eventually face federal charges.
Agents searched Giuliani’s Madison Avenue apartment and Park Avenue office, people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The warrants, which required approval from the top levels of the Justice Department, signify that prosecutors believe they have probable cause that Giuliani committed a federal crime — though they do not guarantee that charges will materialize.
A third search warrant was served on a phone belonging to Washington lawyer Victoria Toensing, a former federal prosecutor and close ally of Giuliani and Trump. Her law firm issued a statement saying she was informed that she is not a target of the investigation.
The full scope of the investigation is unclear, but it at least partly involves Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, law enforcement officials have told the AP.
The people discussing the searches and Wednesday’s developments could not do so publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. News of the search was first reported by The New York Times.
In a statement issued through his lawyer, Giuliani accused federal authorities of a “corrupt double standard,” invoking allegations he’s pushed against prominent Democrats, and said that the Justice Department was “running rough shod over the constitutional rights of anyone involved in, or legally defending, former President Donald J. Trump.”
“Mr. Giuliani respects the law, and he can demonstrate that his conduct as a lawyer and a citizen was absolutely legal and ethical,” the statement said.
Bernie Kerik, who served as New York City’s police commissioner during the Sept. 11 attacks and is a longtime Giuliani friend, said the former mayor called him as agents were searching his home on Wednesday morning. Kerik, who was pardoned by Trump for felony convictions that put him behind bars for three years, declined to describe his friend’s mood or reaction, but expressed alarm at the raid, saying agents “shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”