During the 1980s, Rudy Giuliani played a pivotal role in revitalizing a relatively underused law from 1970 focused on combatting organized criminal activities. During his two-year tenure as the third-ranking official at the Justice Department, he took it upon himself to recruit prosecutors nationwide to target and bring to justice criminal enterprises of all kinds.
Later, while serving as Manhattan’s chief federal prosecutor, he effectively utilized the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to successfully prosecute Mafia leaders, corrupt politicians, and prominent financial figures such as Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken during the 1980s.
However, Giuliani, now 79 years old, finds himself on the opposite side of the legal spectrum from the law that was instrumental in shaping his career. He, alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 others, was indicted for orchestrating a criminal enterprise to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Georgia. This indictment, issued on Monday, alleges violations of Georgia’s RICO Act, which is patterned after the federal law Giuliani once championed. The indictment includes charges against him, such as encouraging public officials to breach their oaths, making false statements, and participating in conspiracy.
In a radio interview on the Greg Kelly Show, Giuliani remarked, “I’m the same Rudy Giuliani that went after the Mafia… The same quest for justice. Gosh almighty, if Donald Trump committed a crime, love him though I do, I’d put him in jail.”
This turn of events marks a significant downfall for Giuliani, who rose to prominence through his efforts against organized crime and financial wrongdoing. This led to his becoming New York City’s first Republican mayor in decades. His noteworthy accomplishments in crime reduction were emulated elsewhere, and his strong response following the September 11, 2001 attacks earned him the moniker “America’s mayor.” Despite these achievements, Giuliani faced criticism, especially when he served as President Trump’s personal attorney, spreading contentious claims and conspiracy theories, including those that led to Trump’s first impeachment related to Ukraine.
By 2020, Giuliani had become a target of ridicule, partly due to his dramatic press conference in Philadelphia and his unfounded allegations of election fraud after Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. His statement at Trump’s rally on January 6, 2021, before the Capitol riot, also drew attention.
Giuliani is named over 50 times in the recent indictment and faces 13 counts. The indictment accuses him of leading endeavors to alter election results in crucial states and maintain Trump’s grip on power. It outlines his efforts to propagate unverified assertions of voter fraud after the 2020 election, including press conferences where he and others claimed international collaboration and phone calls with officials from Arizona and Pennsylvania, urging them to act on baseless fraud allegations.
The indictment also outlines his activities in Georgia, including misleading statements to lawmakers about improper voting by deceased individuals and felons, unaccounted-for mail-in ballots, and illegal counting of ballots. Last month, Giuliani chose not to contest claims made by two workers from the State Farm Arena who sued him for defamation. Furthermore, his law license in New York was suspended in 2021, and a disciplinary panel in the District of Columbia recommended his disbarment for his perceived frivolous actions in support of Trump.
During his testimony in December in Washington, Giuliani asserted that he had witnessed voter fraud and defended his post-election advocacy for Trump.
Giuliani’s tenure as the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan from 1983 to 1989 was marked by his utilization of RICO to target the leadership of major organized crime families in New York. His successful efforts resulted in significant prison sentences for several Mafia leaders and associates. He also extended the application of RICO to securities-related fraud, collaborating with regulators to build a strong case against Drexel Burnham Lambert, which eventually faced racketeering charges.
Giuliani’s methods as mayor and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton included a strategy that directed law enforcement resources to high-crime areas, leading to a notable reduction in major crimes between 1993 and 2001. Nevertheless, his approach, which involved increased use of stop-and-frisk practices, drew criticism for disproportionately affecting communities of color and was later deemed unconstitutional.
Despite these challenges, Giuliani appears to have adopted a less dramatic perspective on his current situation. In 2019, as federal prosecutors examined his business dealings and Trump faced an impeachment inquiry, some of Giuliani’s friends advised him to maintain a lower profile. In an interview with New York Magazine that year, Giuliani commented, “My attitude about my legacy is ‘F— it.’” Despite advice to keep a low profile, Giuliani intensified his efforts regarding Biden and his Ukrainian affiliation and began a TV series.
The charges against Guiliani are as follows:
- 1 – Violation of the Georgia RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act
- 2 – Solicitation of Violation of Oath by public officer
- 3 – False statements and writings
- 6 – Solicitation of violation of oath by public officer
- 7 – False statements and writings
- 9 – Conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer
- 11 – Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree
- 13 – Conspiracy to commit false statements and writing
- 15 – Conspiracy to commit filing false documents
- 17 – Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree
- 19 – Conspiracy to commit false statements and writings
- 23 – Solicitation of violation of oath by public officer
- 24 – False statements and writings
Guiliani responded to the indictment by saying that he was being indicted for being Trump’s lawyer. He said that his job as Trump’s lawyer includes protecting him and that he couldn’t believe he was being indicted for doing his job. He also said: “This is an affront to American Democracy and does permanent, irrevocable harm to our justice system. It’s just the next chapter in a book of lies with the purpose of framing President Donald Trump and anyone willing to take on the ruling regime.”