NEW YORK (AP) — Rudolph Giuliani and his lawyers will get to designate which materials seized from him will be reviewed by a court-appointed expert reviewer to determine what should never be seen by federal prosecutors.
Barbara Jones, who will serve as the “special master” in the review, said in her first report to a federal judge that she will not be looking at everything seized in the late-April raids on ex-President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney.
Instead, she’ll look at “potentially privileged documents” chosen by lawyers for Giuliani and Washington attorney Victoria Toensing, a former federal prosecutor and ally of Giuliani and Trump whose cell phone was also taken.
Investigators are probing Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainian figures to see if he violated a law governing lobbying on behalf of foreign countries or entities.
As part of the investigation, federal agents seized 18 electronic devices from Giuliani’s residence and his firm, Giuliani Partners LLC. They’ve already returned 11 devices belonging to Giuliani but have said seven more devices belonging to Giuliani and others at his firm will require more time to unlock without access to passcodes.
Toensing’s law firm has said she was told she was not a target of the investigation.
Jones, who was appointed her to the task by the judge, said lawyers for Giuliani and Toensing will designate documents for her review that they believe are protected by attorney-client privilege or are highly personal, such as medical records. At that point, remaining materials in each batch of items that were not designated for review will be released to prosecutors.
On occasion, Jones said she may speak to government representatives if she needs additional background information to help her decide whether an item is protected by privilege. If Jones finds any of the “potentially privileged documents” should in fact be released to prosecutors, she will refer them to a judge to make a final decision.
The process is similar to how Jones conducted a privilege review of materials seized in 2018 from Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney who pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges and other crimes and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Cohen, who has spoken out repeatedly against Trump, was freed last year after serving about a year in prison due to coronavirus prison population reductions. He is finishing his detention at home.
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and one-time presidential candidate, has not been charged with a crime. He has said all of his activities in Ukraine were conducted on behalf of Trump. At the time, Giuliani was leading a campaign to press Ukraine for an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, before Biden was elected president.
Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press