Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2020.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters
Rudy Giuliani, who served as personal lawyer for former President Donald Trump, so far is seeking to prevent prosecutors from seeing just three items out of the more than 2,000 contained on some of the electronic devices seized from him as part of a criminal probe, a court filing revealed Tuesday.
Giuliani is claiming that those three items are protected by attorney-client privilege, which would prevent them from being given to federal prosecutors, according to Barbara Jones, the so-called special master who is adjudicating such claims.
“I am reserving decision on those three items,” Jones wrote in her filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. “The remaining 2,223 items have been released to the Government.”
The items were contained on seven of the 16 devices seized under search warrants executed at Giuliani’s Manhattan apartment and office in April. Jones is reviewing the remaining nine devices, so Giuliani could end up making more claims of privilege.
All of the items reviewed so far were created on or after Jan. 1, 2018, according to Jones.
Jones wrote that she has assigned “additional documents for review” to Giuliani’s lawyers, and that she expects to be told by them by Friday what additional items they claim are privileged.
“It’s a tedious but very important process that we’re all going through, and we are making every effort to adhere to Judge Jones’ timeline,” Giuliani’s attorney, Arthur Aidala told CNBC.
Giuliani is a former mayor of New York City. He also served as the top federal prosecutor in the same office that is now investigating him.
Investigators are known to be probing Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, where he had worked to dig up politically damaging material on Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Trump was impeached in the House in 2019 on articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his own efforts to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelinsky to announce an investigation into the Bidens.
Joe Biden, who at the time was the Democratic front-runner in the 2020 presidential race, defeated Trump last year.
Giuliani’s lawyer Robert Costello said the search warrants were related to allegations that Giuliani had failed to register as a foreign agent, the Associated Press reported.
At the same time they raided Giuliani’s location, investigators also executed a search warrant at the Washington-area home of Victoria Toensing, a Republican lawyer and Giuliani associate.
Toensing has represented Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, the subject of an indictment in the U.S.
U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in May appointed Jones to screen materials related to Giuliani, Toensing and Firtash for possible privilege claims before the items were turned over to prosecutors.
Jones in her filing Tuesday said that prosecutors have provided seized material from one device seized from Toensing.
“Mr. Firtash’s counsel will be conducting the review of Seized Materials related to Ms. Toensing’s representation of Mr. Firtash,” Jones wrote.
Jones also said that she will speak with Toensing’s lawyers to determine whether they plan to review the remaining material on the device for privileged information.
In 2018, Jones was appointed special master to sift through materials seized from Michael Cohen, who at that time was Trump’s personal lawyer.
She found that few of those documents qualified for privilege from prosecutorial review.
Cohen later that year pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, to financial crimes, and to facilitating hush money payments to two women who claim to have had sex with Trump.
Before entering prison, Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee that Trump was a racist and accused him of a range of wrongdoing.