Federal investigators earlier searched the apartment and offices of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and seized electronic devices, several U.S. media outlets reported at noon Wednesday (April 28), citing information from sources.
Sources said the search warrant obtained by the federal agency was part of an investigation in Ukraine into whether Giuliani violated the Lobbying Act as former President Trump’s personal attorney.
The New York Times first reported the raid on Giuliani. The newspaper quoted three people familiar with the matter as saying that federal investigators in Manhattan raided Giuliani’s home and office early Wednesday with a search warrant to advance a criminal investigation into his involvement in the Ukraine case.
Investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices and searched his Madison Avenue apartment and his Park Avenue office around 6 a.m., two of the sources said.
Giuliani’s attorney, Robert J. Costello, said the search of Giuliani was unnecessary because he had agreed to answer questions from prosecutors, except for those involving his private communications with the former president.
“What they (investigators) did today was legal thuggery.” Costello said, “This should not be done to anyone, let alone someone who was a U.S. attorney, mayor of New York City and personal attorney to the 45th president of the United States.”
The FBI told the media that they would not comment on the matter, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.
The New York Times reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and the FBI have been trying for months to obtain a search warrant for Giuliani’s phone.
Justice Department officials repeatedly tried to block such a warrant during the Trump administration, and the department lifted its objections to the search after Merrick Garland was appointed as President Biden’s attorney general.
While the search warrant is not a clear charge of wrongdoing against Giuliani, it indicates that the investigation has entered a new phase, the report said.
Fox News also confirmed that federal investigators had executed a search warrant on Giuliani and seized several electronic devices.
Giuliani’s attorney Costello told Fox News that seven FBI agents arrived at Giuliani’s apartment at 6 a.m. Wednesday and stayed for about two hours. The agents seized a number of electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones.
Costello said the raid was designed to give the appearance and make Giuliani “look like some kind of criminal.
He said the search warrant was based on suspicions that Giuliani was lobbying on behalf of Ukraine in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires individuals to notify the State Department if they are acting as foreign agents.
Giuliani, as Trump’s personal attorney, was a central figure in Trump’s push to investigate the corruption case against Biden and his son Hunter involving the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. Hunt was a member of the Ukrainian company’s board of directors.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who worked with Giuliani, are accused of funneling foreign money to various U.S. campaigns to gain influence over candidates and violating campaign finance rules, among other charges.