Federal investigators executed a search warrant Wednesday at the Manhattan apartment of Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump, as part of a criminal investigation into Giuliani’s work in Ukraine, three people close to the matter said, according to The New York Times.
The Times reported that Mr. Giuliani’s electronic devices were seized during the raid, according to one of the people familiar with the situation.
The federal probe seeks to determine whether Mr. Giuliani illegally lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of Ukrainian officials in 2019.
For months, the United States Attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI have worked to obtain a search warrant for the former mayor’s phones, the Times said.
The investigation was delayed when officials first tried to obtain a warrant last year when senior officials in the Justice Department raised concerns that the move would be made too close to the presidential election, going against long-standing practice within the department.
The Department of Justice typically makes an effort to avoid aggressive investigations within 60 days of an election to prevent such actions from impacting the outcome of the vote.
According to the outlet, the investigation stems from a case in which two Soviet-born men helped reveal damaging details about President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was a board member of a Ukrainian energy company.
In September, the chairs of the Democrat controlled House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees issued a subpoena against the former mayor for documents relating to his interactions with Ukrainian officials as part of an impeachment inquiry against then-President Trump.
According to NBC news, the subpoenas followed Giuliani’s own comments that he spoke to a Ukrainian prosecutor about then-Vice President Biden’s time in Ukraine.
“In addition to this stark admission, you stated more recently that you are in possession of evidence—in the form of text messages, phone records, and other communications—indicating that you were not acting alone and that other Trump Administration officials may have been involved in this scheme,” the letter said.
The letter alleges Giuliani was part of a scheme with Trump to “advance his personal political interests by abusing the power of the Office of the President” and states Giuliani worked to press the Ukraine into “two politically-motivated investigations.”