Nutty Rudy Giuliani Insults His Lawyer With a Pittance

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Maybe Rudy Giuliani is working on an insanity defense for the day he faces RICO charges down in Georgia, along with Donald Trump and 17 others.

He certainly seemed on the way to proving himself nuts last week, when he paid an insulting pittance toward a seven-figure legal debt to his longtime lawyer Robert Costello, after letting people believe he had raked in more than $1 million at a fundraiser.

As any sane New York lawyer could have predicted, Costello and his firm, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, responded four days later with a lawsuit demanding full payment of the outstanding debt of $1,360,196.10.

“Defendant's last payment to DHC came on September 14, 2023 in the amount of $10,000,” the firm notes in its complaint.

Giuliani had already demonstrated an iffy hold on reality in April, when he went down to Mar-a-Lago with his longtime lawyer, Robert Costello, imagining that notoriously tight-fisted Trump would reward his loyalty by helping to pay his legal bills. CNN has reported that Giuliani reduced himself to begging. Trump pledged to kick in what Giuliani should have expected: exactly nothing.

The most Trump offered was to host two events to raise other people’s money for Giuliani. The first fundraiser was a $100,000-a-plate “Dinner With America’s Mayor” at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, N.J. on Sept. 7. A number of the big-money contributors to Giuliani’s run for president in 2008 made it known beforehand that they would not be attending what was really “Dinner With One RICO Defendant Hosted By Another.”

“I wouldn’t give him a nickel,” billionaire Leon Cooperman told CNBC.

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But Giuliani’s son Andrew nonetheless said in a radio interview the day before the event that it was expected to raise more than $1 million. Rudy subsequently said nothing to the contrary. He never revealed how much was actually raised, but even one $100,000 plate would have been 10 times what he paid his lawyer’s firm.

Unless he failed to draw anyone at all, Giuliani was not so much unable as unwilling to pay more than the $10,000 to his defense counsel. The message to the firm was essentially this: fuck you.

Then, nutty Rudy reacted to the firm’s Sept. 18 lawsuit as if he were the aggrieved party.

“I can’t express how personally hurt I am by what Bob Costello has done,” Giuliani texted. “It’s a real shame when lawyers do things like this, and all I will say is that their bill is way in excess to anything approaching legitimate fees.”

That translates to a double fuck you. The firm notes in the complaint that between November 2019 and July 2023, it had represented Giuliani during criminal investigations by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the Fulton County District Attorney in Georgia, and Special Counsel Jack Smith, as well as in more than 10 civil lawsuits and disciplinary proceedings regarding his law license in New York and Washington, D.C. on the promise it would be paid.

Costello did not respond to a Daily Beast request for comment. But the suit reports that Giuliani had been regularly billed during the four- year period.

“Defendant received all invoices,” " the complaint says. “Defendant never raised any objection regarding the correctness of the invoices.”

In suddenly taking it as a personal affront when pressed to actually pay a longstanding bill, Giuliani is following the example of Trump, a notorious welcher.

Among the many people Trump has stiffed is Nicolas Jacobsen of Classic Chandeliers, who installed three crystal chandeliers in Mar-a-Lago in 2005, including the one that famously illuminates the bathroom where the boxers of classified documents were stashed. Trump initially stiffed him, but then finally offered to cough up half on the condition that Jacobson write a letter apologizing for complaining that he had not been paid in full.

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The chandeliers will be in glittering evidence if Trump makes good on his pledge to host the second Giuliani fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. However many money people show up for the sequel, he is not likely to make good on his debt to Costello. The firm will have to secure a judgment and then scramble to put a lien on a Manhattan apartment that Giuliani has put on the market for $6.5 million.

Others who may be compelled to seek payment this way include Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, two Georgia election workers suing Giuliani for defamation for when he repeatedly suggested they were part of a nonexistent effort to steal the 2020 election. His failure to comply with court-ordered discovery has prompted a federal judge to hold him liable for $133,000 of the defendants’ legal costs. He still faces the penalty phase of the case. Freeman and Moss are also expected to be star witnesses in the Georgia RICO case brought against Giuliani, Trump, and 17 others.

If Giuliani is convicted, the charge brings a five-year minimum sentence. He will at least not have to worry about his prison wages being garnished for outstanding debts. Georgia is one of six states where convicts are not paid at all.

But, hey, if Giuliani keeps getting nuttier, he just might pull off an insanity defense.

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