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Home High profile Rudy Giuliani wants permission from a bankruptcy judge to hire a lawyer for appealing a big defamation ruling, and they have a close relationship

Rudy Giuliani wants permission from a bankruptcy judge to hire a lawyer for appealing a big defamation ruling, and they have a close relationship


Rudy Giuliani is asking for a new addition to his legal team while stressing it is “vital” he has a successful appeal of the defamation judgment that led him into bankruptcy.

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Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani talks to reporters as he leaves after his defamation trial in Washington, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. A jury awarded $148 million in damages on Friday to two former Georgia election workers who sued Giuliani for defamation over lies he spread about them in 2020 that upended their lives with racist threats and harassment. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to the press as he leaves his defamation trial in Washington. A jury awarded $148 million in damages to two former Georgia election workers who sued Giuliani for defamation over lies he spread about them in 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Rudy Giuliani is asking to add a new lawyer to his legal team, stressing the importance of winning an appeal on the recently confirmed $146 million defamation ruling that forced him into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Giuliani's lawyer Gary Fischoff submitted a request to U.S. Bankruptcy Sean Lane on Wednesday to hire Kenneth Caruso as “special litigation counsel” for a flat fee of $250,000, starting on March 20. Fischoff explained that Caruso and his firm will focus on appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, with hopes of reducing the amount Giuliani has to pay or getting rid of the judgment entirely after it was somewhat lowered from $148 million to $146 million in the final ruling.

Giuliani's legal team argues that the “oversized judgment” was “unreasonable on its face” and poses a challenge in satisfying his other creditors.

“The Debtor believes the outsized judgment is unreasonable on its face and does not reflect the true damages, if any, suffered by Plaintiffs,” Fischoff said in January. “The Debtor expects to be successful in having the judgment modified or vacated. As such a substantial reduction in the Freeman claim would render a substantial benefit to the Debtor, his estate and his creditors.”

In the Wednesday request to hire Caruso, it is also stressed that Giuliani must “succeed in having excellent representation” in the appeal of the Freeman v. Giuliani ruling for the bankruptcy “reorganization” proceedings to be successful.

The document included a statement from Caruso confirming that he and Giuliani have been “personal friends and professional colleagues in both government service and private practice” since the 1970s.

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A onetime “special assistant” to Giuliani, Caruso said he has “defended many defamation cases” and has the appellate seasoning to effectively represent Giuliani in the appeal with a “fresh perspective.”

“In my experience, it is not uncommon for a party to change counsel when a case moves from a trial court to an appellate court,” Caruso’s declaration said. “Often, at the appellate stage, the party benefits from a new lawyer’s fresh perspective on the case, even a case that was very ably tried.”

“I respectfully submit that I will bring that fresh perspective to the Appeal, which, as this Court knows,” Caruso added, “is critically important to the Debtor’s successful reorganization, given the substantial damages awarded in the judgment challenged on the Appeal.”

The attorney followed their and Giuliani’s history all the way back to 1977, just six years before Giuliani became U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Their professional connections continued into Giuliani’s time as mayor of New York City, Caruso stated.

“While he was Mayor, he gave me important positions such as membership on the Board of Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York City Charter Revision Commission, and the Mayor’s Appointments Committee,” the declaration stated.

Caruso, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, also mentioned that he and Giuliani were law partners at Bracewell & Giuliani from 2005 to 2010. The attorney further noted that he worked “[i]n recent years” as an attorney at the firm Mukasey Young LLP, where Marc Mukasey, the son of former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey (Giuliani’s “good friend“), is a founding partner. Like Caruso and Giuliani, Mukasey was himself a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani.

On Friday, attorneys for the Official Committee Of Unsecured Creditors submitted a series of subpoena notices, including demands of Giuliani’s son Andrew Giuliani, the former mayor’s companies, and his legal defense funds, to produce documents.

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