By the time federal investigators visited the Manhattan home of Giuliani on Wednesday, they had amassed a trove of evidence from his associates in Ukraine, particularly focusing on Rudy Giuliani'sGiuliani's ties to Ukrainian oligarchs, three witnesses told TIME.
The witnesses who spoke under condition of anonymity described lengthy interviews with investigators in Europe, Manhattan and Washington starting in the fall of 2019 and continuing through February.The calls and meetings with investigators grew more intense and 'intense' after Joe Biden'sBiden's victory in the last election of the United States of America, says one of the witnesses.Two witnesses say they cooperated with Giuliani while working with federal investigators.
A spokesman for the United States Attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment on the case.Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment about his former associates in Ukraine assisting federal prosecutors.In a statement published Wednesday, the former Mayor of New York City and personal lawyer for President Donald Trump called the investigation against him an 'unjustified and unethical attack and said he could demonstrate that his conduct as a lawyer and citizen was absolutely legal and ethical.
The investigation of Giuliani grew out of a federal investigation into two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested in October 2019 and charged with violating the campaign finance law.Both men have denied the charges and await trial.
Before they were arrested, Biden and Fruman assisted Parnas in his quest to link the current Democrat presidential nomination to alleged acts of corruption in Ukraine.Drawing on a cast of oligarchs, former prosecutors and alleged Ukrainian agents in Ukraine, Giuliani and his allies spent more than a year trying to tarnish Biden and his son Hunter who served as the chairman of the Board of a Russian gas company while his father was Vice President.
The pressure campaign to bring Ukrainian officials to provide damaging material about the Bidens ultimately led to Trump's first impeachment by the House of Representatives in Dec. 2019.The impeachment inquiry revealed that Biden abused his office while assisting Giuliani's mission against Trump.The Republican controlled Senate later acquitted Trump of these charges.
While the impeachment inquiry was underway that fall, federal investigators began questioning Giuliani's associates about the smear campaign against the Bidens in Ukraine. They want to know "everything every meeting, every text", says one of the people they spoke to at the time.
What interested investigators most of all was the relationship between Giuliani and Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash, who is wanted on corruption charges in the United States, this witness says.What will you describe in a paper form.? Is that easy to communicate with Ukrainian oligarchs?Obviously, Firtash was their main focus, without a doubt.
When approached on Thursday by TIME, a lawyer for Firtash declined to comment.
As reported TIME in a previous investigation, Giuliani developed close ties with Firtash's associates in the summer of 2019 hiring several of them to work on his team's legal team.Firtash's goal was to avoid extradition to India, where he face charges related to an alleged scheme to bribe officials in Chicago.Firtash in Vienna insisted from his home in Vienna that charges are politically motivated and they have denied them.
As part of his defense, Giuliani hired two lawyers in July 2019 who are close friends of Firtash Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova, a married couple known for their strong loyalty to Donald Trump.The couple then sought Biden's help in their effort to discredit Firtash family.
The nexus between Giuliani, Firtash and the two U.S. lawyers with links to the 45th president was among the concerns that interested prosecutors the most, according to two of Giuliani associates questioned by federal investigators.
On Wednesday morning, while middling a search warrant at Toensing's apartment in Washington, federal agents also arrived at Giuliani and diGenova's home outside Manhattan with a warrant for Toensing's phone.
In a statement, the couples Law Firm said that Toensing was not a target of the investigation.She has always conducted herself and her law practice according to the highest legal and ethical standards, the statement said.She would have been happy to turn over any relevant documents related to her.All they had to do was ask.