Giuliani, who served as former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has been the focus of an investigation concerning his activities in Ukraine, including whether he conducted illegal lobbying for Ukrainian officials while he pursued an investigation linked to Trump’s primary political rival, President Joe Biden, CNN has reported. Giuliani hasn’t been charged and has denied wrongdoing.
It is unusual for prosecutors to execute a search warrant on a lawyer, although Manhattan federal prosecutors have done so before, most notably in recent years against another former lawyer for Trump, Michael Cohen.
On Wednesday afternoon, an attorney for Giuliani, Robert Costello, said the warrant described an investigation into possible violation of foreign lobbying laws and that it sought communications between Giuliani and people including a former columnist for The Hill, John Solomon.
As part of the same investigation, agents on Wednesday also searched the home of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer and Giuliani ally, according to a spokesperson for Toensing.
“Ms. Toensing is a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official. She has always conducted herself and her law practice according to the highest legal and ethical standards,” her spokesperson said in a statement. “She would have been happy to turn over any relevant documents. All they had to do was ask. Ms. Toensing was informed that she is not a target of the investigation.”
Toensing and her husband, Joseph diGenova, signed an agreement with a Ukrainian prosecutor as part of an effort to collect information about Biden’s activities in Ukraine while he was vice president, according to the House Democrats’ 2019 impeachment report.
Warrant would have required senior authorization
A search warrant for a lawyer like Giuliani would require sign-off by the highest levels of the Department of Justice, likely by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco or the acting deputy attorney general who served prior to her confirmation, according to departmental guidelines.
The Times reported that investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.
Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, along with other officials at Justice headquarters and the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, decided not to make a final decision, CNN reported, in part because there would soon be a change in the administration.
The New York federal prosecutors wanted to seize Giuliani’s devices when they first sought to execute the search warrant last year, CNN previously reported.
Giuliani facing legal exposure
Giuliani has been under scrutiny by Manhattan federal prosecutors since early 2019. The inquiry has explored whether Giuliani may have been engaged in undisclosed foreign lobbying for Ukrainian officials when he sought the ouster of the US ambassador to Ukraine as well as an investigation into the Bidens for his own personal benefit at the same time he was pursuing those efforts as Trump’s attorney.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Evan Perez, Katelyn Polantz, Paula Reid, Kara Scannell, Sara Murray, Jeremy Herb and Jason Morris contributed to this report.