The untold truth of Rudy Giuliani

These days Rudy Giuliani is serving as a particularly vocal member of President Donald Trump's legal defense team, stepping up to the mic as a kind of unofficial spokesperson (simultaneously earning himself a spiffy new Saturday Night Live impression, a not-so-friendly greeting at a New York Yankees game, and a series of portraits from comedian Jim Carrey). Previously, he had a long career as an attorney before stepping into the national spotlight as the mayor of New York City between 1994 and 2001, during which time he implemented a strident program of hardcore policing to eliminate crime in the beleaguered city and managed the aftermath of 9/11. In 2008, he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president (he'd previously been registered both as a Democrat and later as an independent) and subsequently continued to practice law.

For the entirety of his time in the public eye, Giuliani has been a controversial figure. He has received credit for "cleaning up" New York City and leading the city through 9/11 (Oprah reportedly dubbed him "America's Mayor" just after), but has also been widely criticized for a number of controversial stances and unhinged television appearances. Read on for some lesser-known morsels about this divisive figure.

Rudy Giuliani is often credited with pioneering the 'perp walk'

Anyone who's ever caught an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is likely very familiar with the "perp walk," when people who are suspected (but not yet convicted) of committing a crime are paraded in front of the media as they enter a court house. Per Reuters, the practice has been called "downright undemocratic" and has been criticized for "undermin[ing the] presumed innocence of the so-called 'perp,' or perpetrator."

As Reuters also explained in 2011, the "perp walk" gained prominence as a practice during Rudy Giuliani's time as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in the 1980s, when he was responsible for prosecuting high-profile criminal cases. Criminal law professor Laurie Levenson told the outlet that Giuliani made an "art form" out of parading defendants, including "corrupt bankers, drug dealers and mob members" in front of the cameras.

Rudy Giuliani busted the mob — and almost got killed for it

As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in the 1980s, Rudy Giuliani was involved in busting several major players in the mafia. And according to Giuliani himself, he nearly got whacked for doing so. In 2013, Giuliani appeared on Oprah: Where Are They Now?, and described how — because "nobody" prosecuted more mafia figures than he did — he discovered later that a "contract was put out on [him] the first year that [he] was the mayor by the Sicilian mafia." He said, "They offered $800,000 to kill me. Then, toward the end of the time I was the mayor, a particular mafia guy who we convicted and put in jail for 100 years, put out a contract to kill me for $400,000."

As The Telegraph reported in 2014, an informant confirmed to Italian investigators that the then-head of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra had indeed planned to murder Giuliani, "ordering him to approach the Gambinos, the New York crime family, and ask for their permission to kill Mr Giuliani," though the plan was canceled for fear of the American authorities getting involved. The New Yorker also disclosed in 2018 that the leaders of the infamous "five families" in New York City nearly reached an agreement to have Giuliani whacked, until a deciding vote from mob boss Vincent (the Chin) Gigante thwarted that plan too.

Rudy Giuliani was once married to his second cousin

Ancestry.com isn't usually our go-to source for gossip, but, in this case, it was a goldmine. According to the site, in 1968 Rudy Giuliani married one Regina Peruggi, who was (stay with us) his father's first cousin's daughter. In other words, she was Giuliani's second cousin. The couple were married for 14 years, until Giuliani filed for an annulment in 1982. 

The bizarre nature of Giuliani's first marriage entered the spotlight once again in May 2018, when host of Last Week Tonight John Oliver brought it up for comedic fodder on his show. Oliver noted the implausibility of Giuliani's claim that he only discovered that he and Peruggi were related after many years of marriage, saying, "He didn't think it was just a little bit weird at the wedding ceremony when one side of the church was both families, and the other was just one very nervous photographer who didn't take a single picture?"

Rudy Giuliani's love life has been shady, to say the least

After divorcing Regina Peruggi, Rudy Giuliani married Donna Hanover in 1984, and then pulled a total Matt Damon move by announcing their impending separation after 16 years of marriage during a 2000 press conference — which, as The New York Times reported at the time, was all news to her. 

As Slate detailed, an irate Hanover, who had two children with Giuliani, went on to accuse the then-mayor of having an affair with a staffer, a claim he denied because, in fact, he was carrying on a relationship with a woman named Judith Nathan (who was subsequently barred by a judge from living in Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor of New York City). Giuliani went into attack mode, as Slate reported in the same article, "publicly stripping Hanover of her first-lady duties and insisting that the judge was wrong to keep Nathan apart from his children. Giuliani finally moved out of Gracie when he couldn't move Nathan in."

Fast forward to April 2018, and, per the New York Daily News, Judith Nathan had filed for divorce from Giuliani after 15 years of marriage. Another one bites the dust. 

Rudy and Judi Giuliani's divorce just keeps going

The contentious April 2018 split between Rudy and Judi Giuliani took a turn for the worse in November 2018, when Judy accused her ex-husband of infidelity. She also claimed he spent an excessive amount of money on his supposed paramour, Maria Rosa Ryan. In court documents obtained by NBC 4 New York, Judy claimed Rudy spent $286,532 on Ryan between April 2018 to November 2018, although it's not clear how it was used. Additionally, she accused him of splurging on over $7,00 on pens (um) and over $12,000 on cigars.

Unfortunately for the warring exes, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Their feud continued through July 2019, when they fought over — wait for it — Christmas decorations. Judi's friend alleged to Page Six that Rudy is keeping a "huge walk-in closet of decorations" from his ex, including family heirlooms. In response, Rudy claimed he was in the process of returning the holiday horde, and that it was likely "in transit." He also joked, "There's a lot of time before Christmas, unless she wants to celebrate it on August 25th this year, in which case I will expedite the shipment."

What's more? Judi's harsh, public criticism of her ex. "I feel betrayed by a man that I supported in every way for more than 20 years," she told The New York Times in September 2019, adding, "I'm sad to know that the hero of 9/11 has become a liar." Ouch.

Rudy Giuliani's daughter is a Clinton supporter

Reports of tension between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton have proliferated since the two briefly ran against each other as candidates for New York Senator in 2000 (Clinton won against Republican nominee Rick Lazio, who replaced Giuliani in the race in May 2000). Giuliani has since been taking swipes at Clinton as recently as March 2018, when he made a tasteless joke about the former Secretary of State's weight at a benefit at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. In 2016, as the Los Angeles Times described, he also derided Clinton as "too stupid" to be president.

And yet, that same year, Politico reported that Giuliani's daughter, Caroline, was a hardcore supporter of Clinton in her bid for president. When reached for comment, Caroline told the outlet, "I love Hillary, I think she's by far the most qualified candidate that we've had in a long while... My dad knows. I was for Barack [Obama] in 2012. He knows and is fully comfortable with it and thinks I have a right to my opinion."

Rudy Giuliani's been involved in many feuds

In addition to his ongoing issues with Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani has entered into numerous public spats over the years. The following is just a sample: In 2011, as Salon reported, Giuliani derided then-Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie for not heading back to his home state to help with snow clean-up after a blizzard, to which Christie replied, "It's easy when you are out of office to be shooting from the peanut gallery when you no longer have any responsibility..."

In 2012, Giuliani sounded off on then-president Joe Biden, telling the press (via Slate), "I have never seen a vice president that has made as many mistakes, said as many stupid things." It's likely he was still smarting from then-Senator Biden's assessment in a 2007 Democratic presidential primary debate that there were "only three things [Giuliani] mentions in a sentence: A noun and a verb and 9/11, I mean, there's nothing else." 

Giuliani aired his grievances against, of all people, Beyoncé, when he appeared on Fox & Friends in August 2016 to criticize her recent performance at the MTV Video Music Awards (which referenced police brutality) and flaunt his own track record "sav[ing] black lives." He'd previously slammed the singer's Super Bowl performance, calling it (via Stereogum) "outrageous ... I don't know what the heck it was — a bunch of people bouncing around and strange things" during an appearance on Fox & Friends. Queen Bey rose above the fray, however, and never commented.

There's a bizarre video of Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump

In a 2000 video clip that's all the more shocking in the wake of Donald Trump's 2016 Access Hollywood tape scandal, numerous sexual assault allegations against the president, and the birth of the #MeToo moment, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani appears in drag as a woman named "Rudia," attempting to seduce Donald Trump (who didn't yet have a hand in politics). In character, Giuliani splashes perfume on himself and then, to put it bluntly, Trump sticks his face into the character's bosom. Giuliani reacts by calling Trump a "dirty boy" and slapping him. 

According to Business Insider, the bizarre skit was filmed "as part of the Mayor's Inner Circle Press roast, a parody event in which New York mayors show their light-hearted side." This wasn't the first time that Giuliani had dressed in drag for laughs, however. In 1997, The New York Times reported that the mayor appeared on stage at that year's Inner Circle roast "in high heels, a full-figured spangled pink gown, a platinum-blond wig and several pounds of makeup."

Rudi Giuliani once took on a dictator over a video game

Before his death in May 2017, Manuel Noriega was best known as the former dictator of Panama, which he ruled between 1983 and 1989. Lesser known, however, is his face-off with Rudy Giuliani over a video game.

As the Associated Press reported in September 2014, Giuliani (who was then back to practicing law full-time at his own firm) agreed to help Activision Blizzard Inc. by requesting that a Los Angeles judge drop a lawsuit Noriega had filed against the video game company. Noriega's complaint? His likeness had been used without permission in the 2012 game Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Giuliani told the press, "I am outraged that [Noriega] is seeking millions and millions of dollars that he can take down to a Panamanian prison from a great American company." Per The Guardian, Giuliani even used himself as an example of why historical figures shouldn't attempt to profit from the use of their likeness, saying, "I was the mayor of New York and during that time I created a history, and people have the right to write about that accurately, inaccurately and in a fictional way — I have no financial right to recover for that." 

As CNN reported, Noriega's lawsuit was dismissed in October 2014; in a statement, Giuliani noted, "This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world."

Rudy Giuliani had beef with ferrets

Rudy Giuliani's time as mayor of New York City was marked by a particularly strange (and, thanks to the internet, infamous) cause: the anti-ferret movement. As Slate explained, in June 1999, the Giuliani administration lorded over ferret owners when the New York Board of Health voted to include them on its list of "banned creatures," continuing a law that many deemed unnecessarily stringent.  

A month later, a pro-ferret activist called into the mayor's radio show, prompting Giuliani to go a tirade against the animals, describing them as "little weasels," and the caller, whom he called "deranged." Then in 2001, the New York City Council voted to legalize ferret ownership, though Giuliani continued his vendetta and immediately vetoed the rule. 

When asked in 2014 about New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio's potential move to legalize ferrets, Giuliani told The New York Times he'd be okay with it "if [De Blasio]'s got the right scientific backup for it ... I don't know that he does." The ferret ban continues to this day.

What is Rudy Giuliani's role in the Ukraine scandal?

Rudy Giuliani's role's in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump appears to go far beyond what triggered the whole thing: Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky. It's a complicated situation with many players and allegations, especially where it concerns the former New York City mayor. According to The New York Times, Giuliani worked with Ukraine businessmen and officials to dig up potentially damaging information about Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, who once worked for a controversial Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings. 

Although it's not illegal for a personal attorney to investigate a political opponent, as NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas noted, it's problematic for a president to personally direct this type of investigation. It also doesn't help that Trump, after allegedly asking Zelensky to look into the Bidens, encouraged him to speak with Giuliani. "Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy," Trump said in a transcript of the call. "If you could speak to him that would be great."

There's a lot more to the story, but the main point is: conspiring with a foreign power to influence in an election is not good. And if Giuliani helped Trump with this alleged goal, there could be consequences. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing, however, telling The New York Times of his Ukraine dealings: "We're not meddling in an election, we're meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do."

Ignoring a subpoena isn't a good idea

In September 2019, U.S. House Democrats subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani in regards to President Donald Trump's July 2019 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked the leader to investigate Vice President Joe Biden's son. The democrats leading Trump's impeachment inquiry want more information about Giuliani's possible role in the call, especially since he's admitted to asking Ukraine to investigate Biden. "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 subpoena letter stated. The ex-mayor was asked to produce documents related to the matter on Oct. 15, 2019.

On the deadline, however, Giuliani said he'd ignore the subpoena. "If they enforce it, then we will see what happens," he said, according to ABC News. So what could happen if Giuliani continues to ignore it? The possibilities include a potential year in jail and a $100,000 fine, which might not seem too bad in the grand scheme of things. And if Congress goes after the ex-mayor for dodging the subpoena, it's unlikely the Trump administration would actually prosecute him for it, according to Market Watch. If this is the case, the matter could head to federal court.

Bottom line? It's never a good idea to ignore a subpoena, especially when you're a lawyer.

Was Rudy Giuliani's involvement with Ukraine just about money?

If you're wondering why Rudy Giuliani got himself involved in this Ukraine mess, it might have to do with money. At the center of this theory are Ukrainian businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Both men were arrested in October 2019 for allegedly violating campaign finance laws. 

According to The New York Times, Parnas and Fruman, utilizing a super PAC and shell companies, donated large amounts of money to the Trump campaign and GOP candidates. One of the alleged reasons for the donations was part of a "pressure campaign" to remove United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who "Trump allies" viewed as standing in the way of their investigation into Hunter Biden's business dealings in the country.

Per Reuters, Giuliani reportedly worked for Parnas' fraud prevention firm, Fraud Guarantee, for which he was paid $500,000. Although the exact nature of his work is unclear, Giuliani said he provided "business and legal advice." NPR additionally reported that Fruman and Parnas allegedly helped connect Giuliani with top Ukraine officials for the purpose of investigating Biden. 

Of course, these are all pieces of a larger story about what The New York Times describes as "the shadow foreign policy that Mr. Giuliani pushed on behalf of the president." But what is clear? Fruman and Parnas' are now fully engulfed in the impeachment inquiry, which isn't a good look for Giuliani.