Federal prosecutors and attorneys for Rudolph W. Giuliani have recommended that Barbara S. Jones, a former Manhattan judge, be appointed to review documents seized by the FBI during recent searches of Mr. Giuliani’s home and office, according to a government court filed late. Thusday.
The proposal, which has yet to be approved by a federal judge, would require Ms Jones to determine which documents seized could be covered by solicitor-client privilege and should be kept away from authorities investigating Mr Giuliani.
Ms Jones, now in private practice, held a similar position three years ago when she was appointed to oversee the review of documents seized by authorities during the investigation of Michael D. Cohen, the former personal lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump. and fixer.
Mr Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who also served as Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, is under investigation into his relations in Ukraine ahead of the 2020 presidential election, the New York reported. Times.
Manhattan federal prosecutors and the FBI examined whether Mr. Giuliani lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of Ukrainian officials who were assisting him in his efforts to uncover damaging information about President Biden, who was then one of the main Democratic candidates. Federal law prohibits lobbying the US government on behalf of foreign officials without registering with the Department of Justice, and Mr. Giuliani has never registered.
Mr. Giuliani has not been charged with any wrongdoing and said he never lobbied on behalf of the Ukrainians. He denounced the FBI searches as a “corrupt double standard” by the Justice Department, which he said had ignored the “flagrant crimes” of Mr. Biden and other Democrats.
On April 28, the FBI seized 18 electronic devices, including cell phones and computers, during searches of Mr. Giuliani’s apartment on Madison Avenue and his office on Park Avenue in Manhattan, according to court documents.
Manhattan federal prosecutors, citing what they called “exceptionally sensitive privacy concerns” raised by searches of a lawyer whose clients included a former president, had asked for the appointment of a “special master” – a neutral authority that would determine whether any of the seized documents were protected by solicitor-client privilege and should be kept away from investigators.
Ms Jones’ recommendation has been accepted by federal prosecutors and attorneys for Mr Giuliani, the office of Audrey Strauss, the US attorney in Manhattan, said in a letter to Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Federal Court of Justice. district, which oversaw the Giuliani case.
Ms Jones, a partner at the Bracewell law firm, had served for 17 years on the Manhattan District Federal Court – the same court where Judge Oetken sits – after being appointed a judge by President Bill Clinton in 1995.
From 1977 to 1987, she worked as a prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the office that investigates Mr. Giuliani. (For several of the years that Ms. Jones was in the office, it was headed by Mr. Giuliani, who was the United States Attorney for the Southern District from 1983 to 1989.) She then served as senior assistant to Robert M. Morgenthau, the late Manhattan District Attorney.
Although Mr Giuliani was previously a partner in the firm where Ms Jones currently works, formerly known as Bracewell & Giuliani, he left before Ms Jones arrived.
“Neither party believes that Mr Giuliani’s previous affiliation with Bracewell & Giuliani presents a conflict which would disqualify Judge Jones from being appointed special master or his cabinet assisting his review,” Ms Strauss’s office said in the letter to the judge. Oetken.
While in private practice, Ms Jones served as a special master, controller or compliance officer in various court cases and other litigation, according to her website. In Mr Cohen’s case, his examination revealed that only a fraction of the documents seized were confidential and should be kept away from investigators. Mr. Cohen ultimately pleaded guilty to campaign finance and financial crimes charges.
Ms Strauss’s office, in the letter to Judge Oetken, said that in the Cohen case, Judge Kimba M. Wood, who had appointed Ms Jones, said she had “carried out her review with efficiency and extraordinary speed, while giving parties a full opportunity to be heard.