New York, Apr 28 (EFE).- Federal investigators on Wednesday morning searched the Manhattan apartment and office of Rudy Giuliani – an erstwhile New York City mayor and the personal attorney of the former president of the United States, Donald Trump – and seized his cellphone and other electronic devices, local media reported.
The warrants were obtained in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into Giuliani’s foreign dealings in Ukraine, according to the New York Times.
That paper said in February that senior political appointees in Trump’s Justice Department had repeatedly blocked attempts by federal prosecutors in Manhattan to probe whether Giuliani engaged in illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian officials, even as they were purportedly helping him acquire damaging information on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
In particular, it reported that those Justice Department appointees had sought to block efforts by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI to secure search warrants for Giuliani’s electronic files.
The investigators were able to obtain the warrants after Biden was inaugurated in January and Merrick Garland was confirmed as new attorney general last month.
Giuliani was a central figure in both of Trump’s impeachment trials.
He first acted on behalf of Trump in an alleged bid to illegally pressure Ukrainian officials into digging up dirt on the Bidens in 2019.
Trump was impeached late that year by the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress but was subsequently acquitted by the then-Republican-controlled Senate.
Giuliani later was a key figure in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and – like the then-outgoing president – gave a speech at a big rally in Washington DC alleging election fraud on Jan. 6 of this year, shortly before a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol building while a joint session of Congress was being held to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Trump was impeached on charges of incitement of insurrection in January but was acquitted by the upper house of Congress a month later.
The approval of the search warrants means the investigators persuaded the judge they have sufficient reason to believe Giuliani committed a crime and that the searches would turn up evidence of that illegal activity. EFE