Federal agents executed a search warrant at the New York City apartment of Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday morning to seize electronic devices and collect evidence in connection to an ongoing Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal investigation, according to The New York Times.
Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, is the subject of a probe related to his activities in Ukraine during the 2020 election cycle. The New York Times was the first to report the news of the search.
Robert Costello, Rudy Giuliani’s attorney, told the Wall Street Journal that federal investigators confiscated Giuliani’s electronic devices from his apartment at 6am on Wednesday.
The search warrant mentioned an investigation into a possible violation of foreign lobbying rules, and that it intended to obtain communications between Giuliani and certain individuals, Costello told the Wall Street Journal. One such individual was John Solomon, a journalist who spoke with Mr Giuliani regarding his push to investigate then candidate for president Joe Biden’s involvement in Ukraine.
Federal prosecutors rarely seek approval for search warrants related to legal work that falls under the protected category of attorney-client privilege. In the past, Manhattan federal prosecutors pursued a warrant against former Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in federal prison after being convicted of tax evasion, campaign finance fraud, and lying to Congress.
The New York Times reported that DOJ agents requested permission to raid Giuliani’s Manhattan residence for communications and records last year, but were denied by senior political officials in the Trump administration.
A federal warrant requires approval by a judge. Prosecutors must convince the judge that there is probable cause that a search of Giuliani’s property would yield evidence that crime or fraud was committed. The raiding of Giuliani’s home could indicate that the agents met the burden of proof.
The inquiry into the former New York City mayor at least partially involves his business dealings in Ukraine, aiming to discover whether Giuliani participated in illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian government operatives.