Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, US President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, speaks about the results of the 2020 US presidential election during a press conference in Washington on November 19, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Rudy Giuliani’s attorneys cited communications with then-President Donald Trump in a letter to a judge attacking the legitimacy of a 2019 search warrant for a former New York City mayor’s iCloud account.
The search, unknown to Giuliani until recently, came two years before his Manhattan home and office was searched in late April as part of an ongoing federal criminal investigation into Giuliani’s business in Ukraine.
In 2019, Giuliani and other Trump allies searched for harmful information about current President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, whose business relationships in Ukraine had been scrutinized.
These efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens became a central part of Trump’s first impeachment trial. Trump was indicted in the house and acquitted in the Senate.
Giuliani’s attorneys argue that there are serious questions about the legitimacy of the iCloud arrest warrant and the adequacy of the federal prosecutors reviewing the material seized from that account, as there is a risk of violating the legal and client law associated with Giuliani and Trump.
Giuliani was Trump’s personal attorney.
“In this case, federal attorneys have taken the unprecedented step of covertly seizing personal attorney’s data and files from the former President of the United States,” lawyers Robert Costello and Arthur Aidala wrote to Judge J. Paul of Manhattan Federal Court in Oetken her letter sent last week.
“Before executing the warrants in question [the ones issued for the searches in April] Prosecutors received the entire iCloud from Giuliani, which was undoubtedly linked to and on behalf of the sitting president and contained material on the impending impeachment, the country’s welfare and national security, “the lawyers wrote in the letter. It was not Monday sealed.
The attorneys asked Oetken to overturn the iCloud arrest warrant for 2019 so they could review the legality of affidavits that would have been filed with a judge as part of a petition seeking permission from the prosecutor to seize Giuliani’s data while he was walking worked for Trump.
“Another reason Giuliani should be allowed to consider the government’s motion is the possibility that information that had been kept secret for a year and a half and kept secret from Giuliani has been passed on to the House Impeachment Committee,” it said the letter.
The lawyers told Oetken to first decide whether the prosecution’s behavior regarding Giuliani is legal before considering whether to appoint a so-called special master to review the material seized from Giuliani’s office and home. The special master would determine what information seized in the recent raid is privileged and what can be turned over to federal investigators.
“The validity of the 2019 undercover warrant and the handling of information received from prosecutors are serious issues that need to be resolved before further damage is done,” the lawyers wrote.
“In addition, the fruits of this search in 2019 were certainly partially used to secure the largely double search warrant for 2021 and subsequent seizures,” the letter said. “For these reasons, it is premature to consider a specific master’s degree before resolving these critical issues.”
FBI agents seized electronic equipment from Giuliani’s home and office during the April 28 searches.
Giuliani’s attorneys said in their letter that they had “serious concerns about the wide and extensive nature of the searches of a lawyer’s home and law office, as well as the undercover raid and verification of the same attorney’s iCloud account in 2019 and then about that Fail. ” To give notice to Giuliani and his clients and to withhold information about this search for 18 months. “
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The lawyers also wrote that “during this period the government unilaterally reviewed all privileged and non-privileged information and made completely uninformed decisions about privileges (without any input from clients or their attorney).”
“This was at a time when the president was being investigated by this very agency and the Justice Department of which they are an integral part,” the letter reads.
In a separate letter, an attorney for Republican attorney Victoria Toensing asked the judge to order the government to return materials that had been confiscated from her during “covert” and “open” searches.
Like Giuliani’s letter, Toensing’s letter argued that she should be allowed to examine whether the seized materials were protected by the rights of attorneys and clients.
NBC News reported that FBI agents issued a search warrant against Toensing’s Washington area home on April 28, the day they searched Giuliani’s property.
Toensing’s letter states that in 2019 electronic data from her Google and iCloud accounts were also confiscated in “Covert Warrants”.
Toensing’s attorney, Michael Bowe, is asking the judge to order the government to return her iPhone 7, as well as her Google and iCloud data, and then give it time to process the data and determine which items are privileged before the Government checks them.
“Whatever their motivation, this government exercise goes against the Sixth Amendment and the most sacred attorney and client privilege,” wrote Bowe. “At its core, this constitutionally intrusive exercise seeks to normalize a process that, according to all relevant case law, should not be normal and indeed is not normal.”
Giuliani is under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the southern borough of New York. He headed the federal prosecutor’s office before becoming mayor in 1993.