Flanked by two lawyers at a desk in a small conference room, Rudy Giuliani sat through a federal bankruptcy court hearing that often felt more like a casual, wide-ranging interview about his financial affairs than a judicial investigation to determine how, exactly, he can dig itself out.
The hearing near Wall Street in Manhattan on Wednesday took place just steps from Cipriani, the site where the former New York City mayor and former lawyer for Donald Trump joined the former president and loyalists in December to support his campaign to be launched before 2024.
Less than two months later, Mr. Giuliani found himself on the fifth floor of a bankruptcy court down the street, testifying for the first time about his strained financial state after filing for bankruptcy in the wake of a nearly $1 defamation judgment. 150 million. his election lies.
The hearing sifted through dozens of pages of financial statements, including the potential impact of ongoing defamation lawsuits and other allegations that could deal more financial blows to the former mayor, whose income includes a “marginally profitable” career as a podcaster and radio personality.
“Hopefully it will be more profitable,” he said.
He told the court that Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee owed him approximately $2 million because of his bogus legal efforts to overturn the election results in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
The 79-year-old outlined what he described as an unwritten agreement to support the former president for free, as well as his suspension from practicing law and the long list of lawsuits against him that followed.
The statements came in the middle of a revealing three-hour hearing that provided one of the most comprehensive insights yet into the state of Mr. Giuliani’s finances.
He claimed he didn’t pay for home insurance on his properties in New York and Florida, didn’t know he had trademarks (he does), spends $726 a month on dry cleaning, pays $800 a month for a storage unit. in The Bronx full of nothing of any value, and has no driver’s license. His drivers are either his spokesperson or other live stream co-hosts (who also work for him), or he pays Uber thousands of dollars a year to get around. Mr. Giuliani owes nearly $10,000 for overdrawing his checking account, which he attributed to a bounced check.
The former mayor is strapped for cash and is not eligible for a pension for his eight-year term. He fell behind on his taxes in 2021 because he “didn’t have enough cash” and struck a deal with the Internal Revenue Service to sell his Manhattan apartment. He risked wiping out his IRA to cover nearly $1 million in income taxes from 2021 to 2022, and instead agreed to sell his fellow Manhattan agent, who had been on the market for weeks.
“Then, of course, bankruptcy intervened,” he said.
But Mr. Giuliani, asked at the top of the hearing to explain in his own words why he filed for bankruptcy, pointed to the jury’s December verdict, which fines him tens of millions of dollars.
Jurors in a federal trial in Washington DC have found that he owes $148 million to a mother-daughter pair of election workers who were subjected to a wave of death threats and abuse after he repeatedly falsely accused them of manipulating the results of the US elections. 2020.
“I wouldn’t be bankrupt until then,” he said.
He claimed he was disbarred from practicing law “without cause” after disciplinary boards in New York City and Washington found he spread demonstrably false statements about the 2020 election while contesting the results.
Mr. Giuliani, who served as mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001, worked for the firms Bracewell and Greenberg Taurig before founding his own law firm, where he was the sole attorney. He said Greenberg “asked” him to leave the company after what he described as “great pressure” from the company’s clients after he joined then-President Trump’s legal team.
He said he had offered his “informal” support to Mr Trump on a “pro bono” basis in 2016 as a “campaign volunteer” to a handful of top legal advisers.
“My main mission was to be with him on almost all of his trips and act as a kind of conduit for all the information that came in,” he said.
According to Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump asked him to “take over” his campaign legal staff in November 2020, when Trump-affiliated lawyers launched a failed attempt to overturn the election results in the states he lost. “At that point he had a huge number of complaints that there was fraud in the election,” he said. “He asked me to lead that effort.”
He said his expenses were paid, but he “never received a salary.”
“When I took over, I assumed I would be paid by the campaign for my legal work and expenses,” he said. “When we submitted the invoice for payment, they only paid the costs. Not all, but most. they never paid the legal fees.”
Asked whether he believed he had a potential claim against Mr. Trump, he said: “My understanding is that I would have a complaint, certainly against the campaign and the RNC, and not against Trump.”
He said he has never calculated how much he believes he owes, but it is probably around $2 million.
After joining Trump’s team, his income plummeted, from his “$5-$6m” salary at Greenberg to “probably a million or two” with his own practice, he said. He had to give up his clients after his legal license was suspended. “That was a big financial blow,” he says.
The defamation verdict is part of a growing list of legal liabilities, including criminal charges in Georgia for his efforts to overturn Trump’s election loss. He is also an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal criminal case surrounding Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss.
He is also being sued by voting technology companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic for defamation. A former Dominion executive has separately sued Mr. Giuliani.
President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, has also sued Mr. Giuliani, describing the complaint in court on Wednesday as “all kinds of crazy things.”
He also dismissed a lawsuit from Noelle Dunphy alleging sexual harassment as a “completely outrageous, frivolous lawsuit that should be dismissed.”
Mr. Giuliani himself has filed several lawsuits, including a defamation complaint against President Biden for using the phrase “Russian pawn” to describe Mr. Trump’s former lawyer during a 2020 presidential debate, a statement that Mr. Giuliani previously said claimed it cost him ‘millions of euros’. and millions of dollars” from lost clients and consulting business.
His legal battle is supported by two defense funds, including a political action committee led by his son Andrew Giuliani. That fund raised about $700,000 during a fundraiser organized by Trump at his club Bedminster Club in New Jersey.
According to his lawyers, a separate fund managed by another Giuliani ally has been set up to receive money from smaller donors, usually in $10 and $20 increments. The right-wing network Newsmax also hosted a fundraiser for that fund, they said.
Andrea Schwartz of the Office of the US Trustee, who chaired the hearing, repeatedly reminded Mr. Giuliani that all these lawyers in different jurisdictions must be approved by the court.
“The only reason we are here today is because Mayor Rudy Giuliani has the courage to speak out and stand up to the permanent political class in Washington, and he refuses to be unfairly censored or silenced,” he said. a statement from his political advisor. Ted Goodman, who attended the hearing and handed out hard copies to the handful of reporters watching the hearing in an adjacent room.
“The American people are waking up to the disgusting weaponization of our justice system for partisan political gain, and the fact that we are here today is just one example of this great injustice,” he added.
As he left the courthouse on Wednesday, Giuliani said he had given the court “all the information” he could provide and that he has “nothing to hide.”