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Giuliani lawyers: Feds treat him like drug boss or terrorist

May 17, 2021 Larry Neumeister and Eric Tucker, Associated Press
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Attorneys for Rudolph Giuliani say a covert warrant prosecutors obtained for his Apple iCloud account in November 2019 and a raid last month by agents who seized his electronic devices show they are treating him more like a drug kingpin or terrorist rather than a personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump.

The attorneys complained about Giuliani’s treatment in a letter last week to a Manhattan federal judge who is considering whether to appoint a “special master” to protect attorney-client privilege during a review of evidence gathered from raids on Giuliani’s residence and office.

The letter was publicly filed on Monday after parties agreed to redactions in it.

The raids pertain to a federal probe examining Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainian figures and whether he violated a federal law that governs lobbying on behalf of foreign countries or entities without registering with the U.S. government.

Giuliani, a Republican and former New York City mayor who represented Trump in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, has not been charged with a crime. He has said his activities in Ukraine were conducted on behalf of Trump. At the time, Giuliani was leading a campaign to press Ukraine for an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter before the Democrat was elected president.

Giuliani’s lawyers say the judge should wait to appoint someone to oversee a review of seized materials until deciding whether the government has acted constitutionally and legally in pursuit of the materials. They cited their “serious concern over the broad and sweeping nature of the searches.”

They also called for the judge to unseal affidavits in support of a Nov. 4, 2019, search warrant for Giuliani’s iCloud account, along with affidavits supporting warrants issued this April for raids on Giuliani’s home and office.

The affidavits, the lawyers said, will help them decide whether to seek to suppress everything seized in the April 28 raids.

They also said the judge should force prosecutors to reveal what they think is not protected by privilege before a “special master” is appointed.

Giuliani’s lawyers wrote that the early morning April raids were not necessary because Giuliani had made clear in 2019 that he would answer any questions without restrictions, except for privileged matters, as long as his lawyers knew what subjects would be discussed.

They said prosecutors instead “simply chose to treat a distinguished lawyer as if he was the head of a drug cartel or a terrorist, in order to create maximum prejudicial coverage of both Giuliani, and his most well known client – the former President of the United States.”

In addition, the lawyers wrote, the original warrant for Giuliani’s iCloud account contained a non-disclosure order based on an allegation made to a judge that Giuliani might destroy evidence or intimidate witnesses if he knew the warrant existed.

“Such an allegation, on its face, strains credulity. It is not only false, but extremely damaging to Giuliani’s reputation. It is not supported by any credible facts and is contradicted by Giuliani’s efforts to provide information to the Government. We should be allowed to question the Government as to what basis it had, if any, to make that assertion,” they said.

A spokesperson for prosecutors declined comment. Giuliani attorney Robert Costello said prosecutors have another week to respond to the letter.

In a separate letter dated last week but filed publicly Monday, lawyers for Victoria Toensing — a Washington lawyer whose phone was seized last month as part of the same investigation — asked a judge to order the Justice Department to return to her information collected from her iCloud and Google accounts from what they described as “covert warrants” in 2019.

Given the breadth of the warrants, the lawyers wrote, “it is virtually certain that the materials the Government received included substantial privileged and confidential information concerning clients and criminal matters that have nothing to do with this investigation, privileged and confidential information concerning unrelated other matters that are actively before the DOJ, and privileged and confidential information that is the subject of the warrants.”

The defense lawyers said the government has so far declined to reveal what materials a specialized filter team has acquired, reviewed or turned over to the investigative team.

They said a “special master” should be drawn from a list of candidates proposed by the parties or someone chosen by the judge.

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