From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Rudy Giuliani Turned NY’s Southern District Into a Spin Machine. His Legacy Is Coming Back to Haunt Him.
Date October 23, 2019 2:57 AM
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[New York City’s most famous former mayor has provided the
president legal advocacy that suggests a contempt for the laws he once
enforced. There was the time he said that alleged campaign finance
violations are “not a big crime” "nobody got killed "]
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RUDY GIULIANI TURNED NY’S SOUTHERN DISTRICT INTO A SPIN MACHINE.
HIS LEGACY IS COMING BACK TO HAUNT HIM.  
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Johnny Dwyer
October 22, 2019
The Intercept
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_ New York City’s most famous former mayor has provided the
president legal advocacy that suggests a contempt for the laws he once
enforced. There was the time he said that alleged campaign finance
violations are “not a big crime” "nobody got killed " _

Former New York City Mayor and attorney to President Donald Trump
Rudy Giuliani visits “Mornings With Maria” with anchor Maria
Bartiromo at Fox Business Network Studios on Sept. 23, 2019 in New
York City., Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

 

Rudy Giuliani secured a dubious distinction earlier this month when
he became the second known ex-U.S. attorney for the Southern District
of New York to face investigation by his former office.

The news followed a succession of incriminating allegations against
Giuliani. The sources of these leaks are not public, but the
information behind them comes from the U.S. Attorney’s office, where
Giuliani himself introduced the media leak as one of the most
devastating tools in a prosecutor’s arsenal.

The fact that Giuliani — who has advocated a distinct brand of
lawlessness as President Donald Trump’s TV lawyer — merits the
attention of federal investigators only emphasizes the
through-the-looking-glass quality of Attorney General William Barr’s
Department of Justice. The only other Southern District U.S. Attorney
to be implicated in a potential crime by his own office was Morton S.
Robson, who was accused of receiving a bribe from Roy Cohn to drop a
case
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(The prosecutor was never charged and Cohn was acquitted.)

More recently, New York City’s most famous former mayor has
provided the president legal advocacy that suggests a contempt for the
laws he once enforced. There was the time he said that alleged
campaign finance violations are “not a big crime” because
“nobody got robbed. Nobody got killed.”
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when he confessed Trump’s role in a conspiracy that involved
“funneling” $130,000 through a law firm to pay off Stormy Daniels
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Trump allegedly had an affair. Or the times he floated pardons for
Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort
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Indeed, Giuliani’s entire post-government life has provided a case
study in ethical adventurism, if not actual criminal conduct. Among
the many clients for whom he did political consulting was Peruvian
presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, whose father, a previous
Peruvian president, was convicted of ordering the extrajudicial
execution of 15 people
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Fujimori lost both her campaigns for the presidency; she was named in
the Panama Papers as a client of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the
center of the document leak, and accused of funding her political
career through money laundering
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and bribes
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Giuliani also consulted for Aleksandar Vucic, a mayoral candidate in
Belgrade, Serbia
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who once served as the information minister to accused war criminal
Slobodan Milosevic. Vucic eventually won the Serbian presidency and
the Trump White House sent a delegation to attend his inauguration.
Last year, Vucic’s political party opened an office
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on the site of Staro Sajmiste, a concentration and extermination camp
run by the Nazis during their World War II occupation of Belgrade. (In
1989, a Holocaust survivor charged by Giuliani’s prosecutors was
placed opposite a blackboard inside the U.S. Attorney’s office with
the slogan “arbeit macht frei.” The man was acquitted, and the
judge in the case did not find evidence of Giuliani’s involvement in
what the suspect described as an effort to pressure him to cooperate
with federal investigators.)

Giuliani’s post-government work eventually brought him into direct
conflict with Southern District prosecutors when he represented Reza
Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader charged with evading U.S.
sanctions. The case raised immediate diplomatic issues, with Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressing both the Obama and Trump
administrations to release Zarrab
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Giuliani did not intend to appear for his client at trial, according
to his co-counsel; his role was to pursue an outside resolution to the
case. That ultimately involved Trump seeking to enlist then-Secretary
of State Rex Tillerson to ask the Justice Department to drop charges
against Zarrab, as Bloomberg first reported last week
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To break that down: Giuliani sought help for a Turkish-backed client
accused of violating Iranian sanctions from a president who has a
one-word policy for dealing with Tehran: sanctions. In the end, Zarrab
pleaded guilty. After Erdogan embarrassed Trump last week by attacking
Kurdish-held northern Syria, the Southern District announced new
charges
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a Turkish state-owned bank connected to the gold trader.

But it was Giuliani’s work in Ukraine that crossed whatever
invisible line had existed between the former U.S. attorney and
federal investigators in the Southern District and placed him at the
center of the House impeachment inquiry. The rapidly unspooling
narrative connects Giuliani to efforts to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden,
presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, as well as, oust former U.S.
Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, a career diplomat.
Yovanovitch testified before the House earlier this month that
“individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr.
Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial
ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

She was presumably referring to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were
recently indicted on the very same charges that Giuliani once called
“not a big crime”: campaign finance violations stemming from their
alleged efforts to funnel foreign cash into U.S. campaign coffers.
Giuliani acknowledged receiving $500,000 in payments from a company
called Fraud Guarantee, where Parnas serves as CEO. Federal
investigators have also subpoenaed former Rep. Pete Sessions,
R-Texas, for information related to his involvement with Giuliani
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Sessions reportedly received a campaign contribution from the
Ukrainians and shortly after meeting the men, sent a letter to
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for Yovanovitch to be removed
from her post. Giuliani, for his part, defied a subpoena
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from House investigators working the impeachment inquiry.

The volume and speed of the revelations about Giuliani can be daunting
to follow. Yet it is worth considering the source. In the Southern
District, authorized releases of information on the target of a
criminal investigation make for reliable plot points in high-profile
cases. It is somewhat ironic that Giuliani now finds himself on the
opposite end of such leaks. When he served as Manhattan’s top
prosecutor, he changed the tight-lipped culture of the office to one
that actively shapes the narrative surrounding investigations. He made
such frequent use of fortuitous leaks that judges repeatedly
admonished him for talking to the media.
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As U.S. attorney, Giuliani’s use of the media soured the environment
to such an extent that the judge overseeing Giuliani’s final
prosecution — of Bronx Democratic boss Stanley Friedman and others
as part of a bribery and fraud scandal involving the Parking
Violations Bureau — moved the trial to New Haven because of the
publicity surrounding it. When former FBI Director James Comey worked
under Giuliani as a junior prosecutor in the 1990s, he learned quickly
that “the most dangerous place in New York is between Rudy and a
microphone
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Giuliani’s reliance on leaks didn’t stop when he left the Justice
Department. In the days leading up to the 2016 election, he relied on
leaks originating from the FBI
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that agents had discovered emails relevant to the Hillary Clinton
investigation on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Those leaks prompted an
inquiry by the Justice Department inspector general.

But the leaks surrounding Giuliani’s conduct have so far prompted an
incurious response. There is little discussion of their origins or
what’s driving them. Former Southern District prosecutors  have
achieved something of regulatory capture on cable
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news
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podcasts
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and in print
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Networks rely on these former civil servants to interpret each
revelation emanating from their former office’s work in real time.
These are some of the same pundits whose laudatory and uncritical
appraisal of special counsel Robert Mueller’s capabilities as a
federal prosecutor failed to probe the limits of his authority under
Justice Department policy, his decision not to depose the president,
or the shortcomings of his performance before Congress.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District now faces
challenges to be seen as impartial. Many of the line prosecutors in
the office served under Preet Bharara, who has emerged as a vocal
critic of both Trump
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and Giuliani
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And the office won a conviction against Michael Cohen, demonstrating
that one way to adhere to Justice Department policy against charging a
sitting president is by pursuing his attorney instead. The office
recently filed — and lost — a motion to protect Trump’s tax
returns from a state subpoena. Many Southern District alumni expressed
outrage, saying that the decision to do so marked a fatal breach of
the office’s storied independence. But if you read the fine print,
you saw that no attorneys from the Southern District signed the
filing.

Federal judges in the Southern District may not fare much better when
it comes to being viewed as impartial with regard to Giuliani. When
Comey briefly held Giuliani’s job as U.S. attorney, he found that
“Rudy’s demeanor left a trail of resentment among the dozens of
federal judges in Manhattan, many of whom had worked in that U.S.
Attorney’s office.”

If the investigation into Giuliani does take on an outwardly political
character, he may ultimately bear historical responsibility for
politicizing the prosecutorial culture in the Southern District. The
capstone of his tenure as a federal prosecutor was a targeted attack
on corruption in the city’s Democratic machine, which many saw as
the overture to his political career. Neither Giuliani nor the U.S.
Attorney’s office responded to requests for comment.

Giuliani closed his final trial with an appeal to the jury that
resonates today.

“The people who know best about what was going on inside a cesspool
of corruption like this one are the people who were wallowing in
it,” he said. “If you don’t get your evidence from them, it
keeps going on and on and on, and this kind of corruption will never
end.”

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