Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and former lawyer for Donald Trump, owes millions of dollars in legal fees, a source familiar with the matter told CNN, a debt Giuliani hopes to eat away at Thursday night during a fundraiser. funds at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster. .
Amid a slew of lawsuits and now criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Giuliani is set to raise more than $1 million for his legal defense fund in a fundraiser of 100 $000 per plate hosted by Trump on Thursday night. This is the first of two fundraisers Trump is expected to sponsor for Giuliani.
Giuliani’s son, Andrew Giuliani, who helped organize the fundraiser at Trump’s club in New Jersey, said in an interview with Sid Rosenberg’s WABC radio show on Thursday that the event would not cover all Giuliani’s legal fees. But he said it would help Giuliani “be able to have the resources to build a team to fight what many of us see as political prosecutions.”
Giuliani’s closest allies have solicited donations from people the former New York mayor has helped in the past – including former congressmen and politicians who previously solicited favors from Giuliani, as well as major donors who contributed to Giuliani’s political efforts. It’s unclear exactly how successful that effort was, but a source close to the legal defense fund said it had raised “peanuts” compared to the millions of dollars Giuliani owed.
The fundraiser in Bedminster comes amid a split in the Trump world over whether the former president should do more to help Giuliani pay his mounting legal bills, multiple sources familiar with the issues told CNN. conversations and the dynamic between the two men.
Trump has pushed back against the idea that he should pay Giuliani’s bills himself so their interests remain aligned, arguing that he has done nothing wrong, sources say.
But even though they haven’t paid his legal fees, the pair are still spending time together. Trump and Giuliani had lunch together on Monday and hosted Trump supporters together at the former president’s Bedminster resort.
Giuliani has struggled to pay his legal fees – which one source put at $5 million – while defending against multiple defamation lawsuits. Giuliani was sued for his comments and actions after the 2020 election spreading false allegations of voter fraud.
Last week, a judge ruled that Giuliani had lost a defamation lawsuit brought against him by two Georgian election officials after he failed to provide information requested in subpoenas. He has already been sanctioned with nearly $90,000 in attorneys’ fees and now faces significant damages that could amount to thousands or even millions of dollars.
And in a defamation case brought by voting technology company Smartmatic against Giuliani and others, his lawyer said last month that Giuliani could not afford to pay a data hosting company $15,000 to an electronic search of his phone records.
Giuliani also faces criminal charges in Fulton County, Georgia, for his role in an alleged conspiracy to subvert the will of voters after Trump lost the state to Joe Biden in 2020.
Legal fees related to the Fulton County case could easily add millions to Giuliani’s bill. Prosecutors told Judge Scott McAfee on Wednesday that they expect the trial in Georgia to last about four months and that they intend to call more than 150 witnesses. Giuliani is currently represented in the Georgia case by attorneys Brian Tevis and David Wolfe, as well as New York-based attorney John Esposito.
But it’s still unclear if Giuliani will be able to find the money to retain his defense team.
There is disagreement among Trump advisers over whether he should help Giuliani. Several advisers have told Trump it would be in his interest to help his former attorney with those bills in order to keep him in the fold and help a longtime ally.
Others encouraged the former president to release Giuliani.
Andrew Giuliani criticized some Trump aides for suggesting there was a rift between them. During his interview with WABC, he said his father was ready to tell Trump when he ‘saw someone saying yes to death’ and not giving the former president good information. .
“And guess what – some of these people don’t like Rudy Giuliani for doing this,” Andrew Giuliani said.
Sources close to Trump dismissed the idea that Trump was not helping Giuliani, specifically pointing to fundraisers he agreed to sponsor, as well as a payment from his political action committee to cover the debt. from Giuliani to a data hosting company.
Giuliani struggling with huge legal bills
“It’s his way of helping her,” a source said.
Trump paid the full legal fees of a number of advisers, aides and staff connected to both the House select committee that investigated Jan. 6, 2021, and the federal investigations into the former president.
Many of those people whose bills Trump’s PAC covered are relatively unknown, unlike Giuliani, who always has supporters ready to hand out cash at fundraisers.
Bernie Kerik, Giuliani’s longtime friend and former New York City Police Commissioner, is advising him on finding lawyers and raising money to help pay Giuliani’s unpaid bills, sources say. Kerik traveled with Giuliani to Georgia for his arraignment last month and was seen walking with the former mayor in Fulton County Jail.
“I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done for Trump — Giuliani has done ten times more and suffered more than anyone else,” Kerik told CNN. He estimates that Giuliani lost between $10 million and $20 million in business because of his work for Trump.
Kerik worked closely with Giuliani after the 2020 election to track down alleged voter fraud. Although not charged in the sprawling Fulton County indictment, Kerik’s attorney confirmed to CNN that Kerik is the unnamed person listed in the indictment as co-conspirator 5.
Giuliani currently owes his former attorney Robert Costello more than $1 million, according to a source familiar with the matter. As CNN first reported, the pair met with Trump earlier this year to discuss helping pay off Giuliani’s legal debt. But multiple sources said it was Costello who spoke at those meetings.
Giuliani has been unwilling to personally ask Trump for help directly.
“He won’t. He thinks it’s disrespectful to the president,” a source close to Giuliani said.
After the meetings with Costello, Trump’s Save America political action committee paid $340,000 to a data hosting company, Trustpoint, on Giuliani’s behalf, according to federal campaign records. CNN has confirmed that the payment from Trump’s executive PAC – which paid approximately $40 million in legal fees for Trump and his aides and advisers – covered Giuliani’s debt to the company and allowed him to pay for additional research. of evidence.
Trump also agreed, after meeting Giuliani and Costello, to attend two fundraisers for Giuliani, a source said.
Andrew Giuliani also made direct appeals to Trump on behalf of his father. The younger Giuliani, who started a political action committee to help his father with legal bills, developed his own relationship with Trump.
Sources who spent time with Trump and Rudy Giuliani describe a friendship and said the former president remains very attached to the former mayor.
“It’s not that he’s refusing to help,” a source said, pointing to Trump’s PAC payment of Giuliani’s debt to the data hosting company. The source also said Trump has not ruled out taking on more legal costs from Giuliani in the future, if his other fundraising efforts fail.
Andrew Giuliani, who did not respond to questions from CNN about Thursday’s fundraiser, told WABC on Thursday that the former New York mayor was ready to take on the charges against him.
When he called his father to ask how he was feeling shortly after the Fulton County indictment was uncovered, Andrew Giuliani said he was “almost depressed because he had a challenge. “.
“I hang up and I’m like, ‘This guy is half crazy. He loves chaos,” the younger Giuliani said. “He’s like Trump in that regard. And it’s really true. They are wired a little differently than most of us. They love chaos. They like the challenge.