Rudy Giuliani has admitted that his associate sought $20,000 (£14,600) per day from the Trump campaign in return for his efforts to overturn the US election result – representing a price hike of 10 times the usual sum, according to a report.
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer has consistently denied requesting such a fee for his services, following a Washington Post report suggesting the pair – previously fierce allies – had fallen out over demands for that exact amount, with the former president taking offence and ordering his aides not to pay it.
But it emerged on Saturday that Mr Giuliani reportedly conceded in a short phone interview with The New York Times that his associate Maria Ryan had in fact sent Trump campaign officials an email detailing such a fee shortly after election day.
According to The Times, which has seen a copy of the email allegedly sent to at least three Trump campaign officials from a Giuliani Partners account, it stated the firm was drafting an engagement letter and, rather than a typical daily fee of $2,000, “we will contract for $20,000 a day which will include all of the expenses for Mr Giuliani and his staff”.
“Mr Giuliani began working the case in the wee hours of the morning on 4 November,” the email reportedly said. “He has a team in Washington working out of rented hotel rooms.”
In his phone call with the paper, Mr Giuliani reportedly insisted he was unaware of the email’s existence at the time it was sent, and said that Ms Ryan – who works as chief executive of a New Hampshire hospital – had consulted with another associate, Larry Levy, about what Mr Giuliani should bill the Trump campaign.
The email came at a time when the Trump campaign was raising vast amounts of money from its supporters to contest the results of the election – which the former president and his allies sought to undermine with baseless allegations of voter fraud.
Mr Giuliani was often at the forefront of such efforts, notably during the effective collapse of Mr Trump’s electoral bid outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping on 7 November and at the “Save America” rally held ahead of the fatal insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January, during which Mr Giuliani called for “trial by combat”.
“I never had a single expectation of being paid a penny,” Mr Giuliani reportedly told The Times.
“I feel extremely bad that I’m portrayed as some kind of money-grubbing ambulance chaser,” the former New York City mayor said, adding: “I represented him out of my sense of commitment.
“I didn’t see anything about this that was going to lead to great wealth. I did see a lot about this that was going to lead to great torture.”
There are now calls for Mr Giuliani to have his legal licence suspended and to be investigated over his actions in support of Mr Trump.
Despite speculation that Mr Giuliani may be among those pardoned by Mr Trump in the final days of his presidency, when the time came reports suggested that their relationship had soured as a result of the alleged request for legal fees – with Mr Trump telling White House staff not to forward his calls.
In response to the reports, Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller insisted the president believed Mr Giuliani was “a great guy and a patriot who devoted his services to the country”, adding: “We all love America’s Mayor”.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Giuliani announced he would no longer be serving on Mr Trump’s impeachment team. The former president’s Senate trial on charges of inciting an insurrection is due to start on 8 February.
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