Rudy Giuliani unlikely to face charges for Ukraine lobbying, report says

The former mayor of New York has been under investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors

Abe Asher
Thursday 04 August 2022 00:01 BST
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Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is unlikely to face charges over his dealings in Ukraine in the buildup to the 2020 presidential election, according to a report.

Mr Giuliani, who recently served as personal attorney for former President Donald Trump, has been under investigation by prosecutors with the FBI in Manhattan for nearly two years for his role in pressuring Ukranian officials to produce material compromising to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign.

Among prosecutors’ concerns was that Mr Giuliani may have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by failing to disclose the nature of work he was doing with Ukranian officials. Investigators took possession of Mr Giuliani’s electronic devices back in April of last year as part of the investigation, which now will apparently draw to a close without charges being filed.

Mr Giuliani said that he met with investigators in February and recieved his electronic devices back from them, saying they had a “very good conversation” that lasted around four hours.

Now, Mr Giuliani told NBC News, he appears to be in an increasingly promising position. The New York Times first reported that he was unlikely to face charges.

“If I were representing someone else, I would tell my client to be cautiously optimistic,” Giuliani said. “These are good signs, but to quote Yogi Berra — it ain’t over till it’s over.”

Asked about the prospect of being ultimately cleared, Mr Giuliani told the news organisation, “I’m happy about it.”

It has been a whirlwind four years for Mr Giuliani, who emerged early on as a top confidant of an aide to his fellow New Yorker Donald Trump. Mr Giuliani supported Mr Trump throughout his 2016 campaign, speaking on his behalf at the Republican National Convention and joining Mr Trump’s White House team first as an advisor on cybersecurity and then as a member of his legal team.

Mr Giuliani was then significantly implicated in the Trump team’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into digging up damaging information on Mr Biden as his showdown with Mr Trump in the 2020 election loomed.

The New York Times reported that Mr Giuliani established close ties to Dmitry Firtash, a Ukranian oligarch under indictment in the United States, and stayed in a five-star hotel and took a private flight on behalf of his company.

Federal investigators were also particuarly interested in whether Mr Guiliani illegally lobbied the Trump administration to dump its ambassador to the country, Marie Yovanovitch, on behalf of Ukraine’s then-top prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. Ms Yovanovitch was ultimately recalled in April of 2019, around the time certain Trump officials wanted Mr Lutsenko to launch an investigation into Mr Biden’s connection to the Ukranian energy company that brought in his son as a board member.

But the electronic documents investigators seized reportedly did not turn up any major new piece of evidence, making a prosecution of Mr Giuliani unlikely at this time even as the investigation remains open.

Even if Mr Giuliani evades prosecution for his ties to Ukraine, he still has another set of legal difficulties to deal with. In recent weeks, Congressional and prosecutorial scrutiny of Mr Giuliani’s role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol has increased.

Prosecutors are looking into Mr Giuliani’s role in a scheme to establish alternate slates of electors loyal to Mr Trump, with the House Select Committee on the January 6 riot has met with him as well.

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