Round-Up on the News of a Search Warrant Executed on Rudy Giuliani

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

This is a somewhat fast-moving story that has been the subject of various reported developments as the day has gone on.  Red State contributors have covered various aspects of the story here, here, and here.

Since the New York Times first broke the story of the 6:00 execution of the search warrant — 6:00 am is the earliest that a federal search warrant may be served without express authorization from the judge signing the warrant to be able to serve it earlier — other news organizations have written follow-up stories, some based on statements given to the media by people in Giuliani’s camp.

Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, answered questions from reporters for the Wall Street Journal, adding that based on the limited information appearing on the face of the warrant, the investigators were searching for evidence of criminal activity connected to unlawful lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.  Costello said the warrant specifically referenced authorization to search for evidence of communications between Giuliani and reporter John Solomon.

A Fox News story linked by the second Red State story noted above, added that Washington DC Attorney Victoria Toensing was also served with a search warrant at her home for her cellular telephone. The story states that Toensing’s home was not searched — the only item that was covered by the warrant was her telephone.  That suggests that text messages or other information stored on the device — like photographs of documents — is the evidence being sought.  The story also adds a very interesting comment — that Toensing was told she was not a “target”.

The warrant itself for Toensing’s telephone would have made no reference to her, or anyone else, as a “target”.  That she was told she is not a target is information that would have come from DOJ and/or the FBI, which suggests that someone asked that question on her behalf.  That is not surprising, as someone served with a federal search warrant should assume that they are a target until told otherwise, and should engage an attorney immediately to contact the prosecutor’s office on their behalf.

A search warrant doesn’t name any individual who is the subject of the investigation.  A search warrant is captioned based on the location being searched.  It contains a list of items to be seized if found at that location. It also describes in statutory language the potential criminal activity about which “probable cause” is said to exist, and the items sought must be connected to that described activity. Much of this language is standardized and does not change from warrant to warrant.

The warrant is issued based on an affidavit signed by a federal agent which is attached by reference to the warrant.  The affidavit is not delivered at the time the warrant is served, and the contents of the affidavit remain sealed until such time as the Court issues an order “unsealing” the warrant application.

Where Giuliani, Solomon, and Toensing all intersect is in connection with two individuals already under indictment — Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.  They were previously indicted in the Southern District of New York, the same federal district that issued the search warrants being reported on today.

I’m not going to cover in this story all the issues involving Parnas and Fruman, other than to note they were charged in connection with what is alleged to have been a seven-year-long scheme to defraud having nothing to do with politics, as well as with one count of conspiring to violate federal campaign finance laws by soliciting a foreign national to make contributions in a US political campaign.

But Parnas and Fruman were also the reputed sources for much of the documentary information from the Ukraine that was reported by John Solomon.  Again, working through the convoluted history of all these individuals would require a deeper dive into the timeline and the specific allegations that have been raised about Giuliani and Solomon based on information supposedly provided to them by Parnas and Fruman.

But this is exactly the kind of development that you might expect in a situation where Parnas and/or Fruman are cooperating with the investigation.