There can be no doubt that the execution of a search warrant at Giuliani’s residence is a serious step, which shows that the criminal investigation against him is far away. Federal prosecutors cannot obtain a search warrant based on premonition or mere suspicion. They had to present substantial evidence to a federal judge that there was good reason to believe that a federal crime had been committed and that evidence of that federal crime was in Giuliani’s apartment and electronic devices. It is important for the judge to be convinced that they meet this standard.
For this reason, prosecutors probably already have a lot of evidence they need. During my time as a federal prosecutor, when I sought a search warrant for the subject̵
In this particular case, it can be believed that the evidence was solid and substantial, given the significant internal control that this case will receive within the Ministry of Justice. The criminal investigation of all kinds The lawyer is a sensitive issue due to the complexity caused by the privilege of a client lawyer, and the Department of Defense takes special care when investigating a criminal defense attorney to ensure that the department does not appear to be targeting opponents. Obviously, receiving a search warrant for the former president’s personal lawyer’s residence and devices will gain even more control from the department’s top management.
Curiously, the crime Giuliani is being investigated for – in violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which requires foreign government agents lobbying U.S. officials to reveal their connection to the foreign government – has rarely been prosecuted for decades. But FARA lawsuits jumped during the Trump administration, including the high sentence of former Trump campaign president Paul Manafort and former Republican finance president Elliott Brody (an aide to former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn was also charged with violation of FARA, but the sentence was later overturned.) This group of FARA persecutions prompted President Joe Biden to swear in the campaign to increase FARA’s use if he was elected, saying there should be no lobbying on behalf of foreign governments outside the regular diplomatic channels.
The investigation reportedly focused on Giuliani’s efforts to lobby the Trump administration on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs, who also helped dig up dirt on then-candidate Biden and his family during the campaign. It is also about Giuliani’s efforts to persuade Trump to remove Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Jovanovic, whose anti-corruption work has been viewed hostilely by the same Ukrainian officials. If Giuliani’s efforts to push Trump to fire Jovanovic were made on behalf of Ukrainian officials, it could be the kind of lobbying abroad he should expose.
So far, Giuliani has tried to hide behind simple technical specifications, arguing that he did not have a written contract with a foreign employee or oligarch. He will not get away with it in court. What matters is whether he was an agent of a foreign government, not whether his connection to that foreign government is remembered in writing. You cannot avoid the requirements of FARA by failing to record the details of your agreement with a foreign government.
Giuliani’s work in Ukraine has been the subject of controversy for two years and is at the heart of the first procedure to impeach Trump’s pressure on the new Ukrainian president. But, according to The New York Times, senior political appointees to the Justice Department have repeatedly tried to block search warrants, suggesting the ministry has evidence it needs against Giuliani for some time.
Previous efforts to delay the investigation will not help Giuliani now. Otherwise, they could work against Giuliani if it turns out they ended at his insistence. Giuliani’s stupid public statements (he mistakenly claims that search warrants can only be issued if there are fears that the evidence will be destroyed) will also not help him if he is eventually charged. At this point, he will have to adopt a defense strategy that may confront him with his former client.
Giuliani’s defense is likely to be that he acted entirely on Trump’s instructions and that his efforts on behalf of officials and oligarchs were made to give them favor on behalf of Trump, and were made on Trump’s orders and on his knowledge. Purely in terms of a trial strategy, Giuliani’s best defense would include the former president’s testimony that he knew everything Giuliani was doing and approved of his every move. This would allow Giuliani’s defense team to argue that because he ultimately pursued Trump’s interests, he was actually working on behalf of the United States, not the Ukrainian oligarchs.
Unfortunately for Giuliani, Trump is not known for opening the door to disgraced former aides, especially if it would lead to personal embarrassment or potential responsibility. Given how Trump distances himself from former attorney Michael Cohen when faced with such a danger, it’s hard to imagine the former president swearing to tell the truth and undergoing a withering cross-examination that could at best. to embarrass him or expose him to potential liability in the worst case. (Trump’s report that he was sworn in in civil lawsuits is well documented.)
The only sure way for Trump to avoid testifying in the trial against Giuliani would be to take Petya, but Trump has repeatedly noted that taking Petya makes you look guilty. The only way for him to get away from testifying was to assume that he did not actually know what Giuliani was doing and did not approve of his activities. This would make it useless for Giuliani as a witness and force Giuliani to point a finger at Trump to save himself. Manafort’s five-year sentence for conspiracy to violate FARA gives Giuliani enough incentive to do so, especially since he knows Trump can no longer forgive him.
When a lawyer, especially a well-known former federal prosecutor like Giuliani, faces jail time, the incentive to reduce that sentence is significant. Like Michael Cohen, Giuliani will have every incentive to help federal prosecutors if he can potentially reduce his sentence. This could make the persecution of Giuliani far more consequential than it seems at first glance, given his role in everything from defending Trump’s impeachment to the January 6 uprising.
Without Trump’s protection or financial support, Giuliani’s loyalty seems likely to have a limited shelf life.