On Monday morning, Rudy Giuliani’s legal team was forced to hand over more documents at the request of Bernard Kerik’s legal team. When the former head of the New York Police Department forced the former mayor of New York City to throw away a pile of documents, it would seem at first glance that this was related to a crime that happened in New York City. After all, the former commissioner was previously convicted of eight felony counts in New York state and was later granted a presidential pardon by none other than former New Yorker Donald Trump.
It is not related to the crime that happened in New York City. In fact, this could be a big sign about the timing of Donald Trump’s impeachment. Although… it’s hard.
The records in question relate to work done by Kerik, Giuliani, or both as members of the Trump campaign team. However, the case in which the documents are being produced was not initiated by special counsel Jack Smith. Instead, the documents are being handed over to the lawyers of two black election workers suing Giuliani for defamation.
Georgia election officials Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman have been seeking the documents for months. However, Kerik’s attorney, Tim Parlatore, said the documents were protected by attorney privilege, since Kerik was working for Giuliani to pursue allegations of election fraud. Giuliani was also refusing to hand over his documents to Moss and Freeman’s attorneys while using similar claims of attorney-client privilege. Trump’s legal team was part of all these claims.
Last month, Federal Judge Beryl Howell ordered Giuliani to hand over the documents admitted Giuliani by providing incomplete documents and intentionally incomplete investigation. Mr. Howell’s penalty included a fine of $89,000.
Kerik says he was on the verge of receiving such a fine today when apparently everyone—Kerik’s lawyer, Giuliani’s lawyer, and Trump’s lawyers—opened the door. That led to all of the pages—about 2,000—going from Giuliani’s lawyers to Parlatore and then to Moss and Freeman’s lawyers.
However, this is not the end of the journey of those documents. Like The Daily Beast reports, the deal cut by Howell also makes the documents available to the special counsel’s office.
Trump’s team reportedly made the decision in the hope that the many statements Kerik and Giuliani had gathered would prove that Trump and his legal team had reasons for their actions after the election.
Trump’s decision to greenlight the issuance of these documents represents something of a gamble. But Parlatore said the evidence could be conclusive, because it shows that the Trump campaign was indeed aware of the fraud — and to do what we can argue is to try to analyze the claims by interviewing witnesses.
However, the fact that they hid these documents for a long time (and that none of the accusations that Giuliani made in trying to overthrow the election were confirmed) shows that everything in these documents may contain unsupported lies.
There is a big difference between 2,000 pages of people reporting fraud and even one page of someone else to confirm fraud. Trump and Giuliani seem to be missing the same page. Another major risk for the defendants is that the documents could show that they knew that Giuliani and others named in court were false.
In any case, there are two views of the results of today’s decisions. First, The Daily Beast points out that the timing of this event “may indicate that Smith is not about to criticize Trump as the former president has said recently.” After all, this is 2,000 pages of previously unseen evidence that needs to be read, reviewed, and analyzed to help with possible criminal charges against Trump, Giuliani, and others. So far there is no indication that Kerik’s deal is more than allowing the documents to appear. There is no indication that this is part of any larger appeal by Smith.
If the documents can slow down Smith’s roll, that would be another good reason for the Trump team to release them. Because “delay” is Trump’s first, last, and middle name.
It is possible that Smith already has a good idea about the content of these texts. It is possible that they also saw their copies from somewhere else. Any charges related to Kerik or Giuliani—who they say they have no he received the letter he wanted—it may come later.
If Trump is telling the truth (he always starts a sentence) about already receiving the letter he wants, then it seems that Smith already has enough evidence to support the charges he wants. Fees may be waived, or added, from time to time.
However, MSNBC’s legal expert Andrew Weissmann they have a very different time than the time of events. Weissmann notes that most of what Trump’s team is doing is responding to requests from the Department of Justice for the crimes described in the letter that Trump wants. If so, Smith could reject Trump’s appeal and “make a ruling tomorrow or Thursday at the latest in DC.”
Trump’s move today to open the door to Giuliani’s records may have been a short-term effort to undermine the special counsel’s actions after the DOJ rejected a direct request from Trump’s legal team. Or… maybe not.
We should know in the next few days.