- Rudy Giuliani’s neighbor said she saw people “bringing out a lot of stuff” after his apartment raid.
- The feds raided Giuliani’s apartment and office and seized his electronic devices on Wednesday.
- They also seized his assistant’s computer and served her with a federal grand jury subpoena.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A tenant in former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani’s apartment building told reporters on Wednesday that she saw investigators “bringing out a lot of stuff” after they raided his apartment and seized his electronic devices.
The FBI executed search warrants on Giuliani’s Manhattan apartment and his office, as well as the Washington, DC, home of one of his associates, Victoria Toensing. Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, also told ABC News that agents served Giuliani’s longtime assistant, Jo Ann Zafonte, with a federal grand jury subpoena.
“I just saw people,” the tenant in Giuliani’s building, Michele Herbert, told reporters after the raid. “I probably saw FBI jackets. But I just saw people, you know, and I saw all of you and I said, ‘What is going on?'”
“They’re probably, maybe, still up there in his apartment,” she added. “I really don’t know. They were bringing out a lot of stuff.”
Executing a search warrant on a lawyer is an extraordinary step to take, and securing such a warrant requires approval from a federal magistrate judge. The fact that a grand jury has been impaneled also indicates that the investigation into Giuliani is entering an aggressive new phase.
The feds have been scrutinizing Giuliani, who serves as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, since at least 2019 over whether he violated foreign lobbying laws in his dealings with Ukraine. The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) stipulates that American citizens notify the Justice Department of any contacts they have with foreign governments or officials, and if they interact with the US government or media at the direction of those officials.
Giuliani spearheaded a behind-the-scenes effort to influence US foreign policy vis-a-vis Ukraine that formed the basis of Trump’s first impeachment. He also worked with a number of Russian and Ukrainian political operatives to dig up dirt on the Bidens ahead of the 2020 election, and he was instrumental in pushing the lie that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election — a bogus talking point that originated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In October 2019, two of Giuliani’s Ukrainian business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested on suspicion of trying to funnel foreign money into a pro-Trump super PAC and other entities to gain leverage in US political circles.
Prosecutors zeroed in on Giuliani as part of their broader investigation into Parnas and Fruman, and CNN reported that investigators from the Manhattan US attorney’s office approached Kevin McCallion, a lawyer in New York, earlier in 2019 to ask about Giuliani’s link to the two men.
Giuliani has acknowledged that he sought dirt on political adversaries, including President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and had contact with the former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.
The FBI’s investigation into Giuliani includes a counterintelligence aspect that veteran prosecutors said suggested the FBI may see him as a national security threat. And last year, The Washington Post reported that US officials warned the White House that Russian intelligence services were using Giuliani to funnel disinformation to Trump.
Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer, Robert Costello, told The Times that what the FBI “did today was legal thuggery.”
“Why would you do this to anyone, let alone someone who was the associate attorney general, United States attorney, the mayor of New York City and the personal lawyer to the 45th president of the United States?” Costello said.
Source: Read Full Article