Rudy Giuliani’s price is above rubies. His wise legal counsel cannot be bought for love or money. How can you possibly put a dollar value on THIS?
Nevertheless, those sticklers at the Office of Government Ethics suggested that the hundreds of hours of legal services provided to the president gratis by America’s Looniest Mayor are worth something and must be declared as a gift on his financial disclosure. After all, Giuliani spent weeks gallivanting around Europe trying to prove that Joe Biden was corrupt. He pressured the Justice Department to open an investigation into allegations that Joe Biden stole $5.3 billion dollars from Ukraine, and he plastered the State Department with affidavits from Eastern European politicians who would testify to Biden’s perfidy if only they could get a visa to enter the United States. The president’s free lawyer was so successful that he managed to get his client impeached, which is no mean feat!
And yet, according to Donald Trump’s latest financial disclosure, the value of Rudy’s services is priceless, and thus doesn’t have to be disclosed.
Although we did not believe and do not believe that any pro bono publico counsel is reportable as a “gift,” at the request of OGE, we note that as has been widely reported in the media, Rudy Giuliani provided such pro bono publico counsel in 2018 and 2019. In any event, Mr. Giuliani is not able to estimate the value of that pro bono publico counsel; therefore, the value is unascertainable.
And indeed Greenberg Traurig had no more use for Mr. Giuliani’s legal services, terminating him in 2018 after he went on Sean Hannity’s show and seemed to claim it was his standard practice to pay hush money settlements out of an escrow account without telling the client first, and then billing it out as a “retainer.”
But Giuliani has found ways to monetize his time in the past two years. For instance, he met with the Justice Department on behalf of Alejandro Betancourt, a Venezuelan businessman being investigated for involvement in a billion-dollar bribery and money-laundering scheme. And he charged his pals Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman $500,000 for consulting work done for their company Fraud Guarantee. Unfortunately they got indicted for campaign finance before the venture got off the ground. But the check did clear!
So Rudy is certainly capable of putting a value on his time. But when it comes to his good buddy Donald Trump, “Mr. Giuliani is not able to estimate the value of that pro bono publico counsel.” Nor is he able to explain just how the provision of free legal services to a person who claims to have earned upwards of $446 million last year benefits the public.
But go on, put down “free legal services to billionaire” on your pro bono report to the managing partner and the state bar, and see how that one goes over. We dare ya!
Trump releases 2019 financial disclosure report [CNN]
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.