The Criminal Career of Rudy Giuliani
by Paul Craig Roberts
Republican magazines have begun their pimp operations for the GOP’s 2008 presidential candidates.
In a recent issue of National Review, Jennifer Rubin, described as "a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.," pumps up Rudolph Giuliani as "America’s mayor" and "America’s prosecutor."
Giuliani is a media creation. Giuliani was unknown until in search of name recognition he staged a stormtrooper assault on the financial firm Princeton/Newport involving fifty federal marshals outfitted with automatic weapons and bulletproof vests. On another occasion he had two New York investment bankers hauled off their trading floor in handcuffs.
Giuliani’s victims had done nothing and were exonerated. But Giuliani’s media stunts served to turn public sentiment against white-collar defendants.
Giuliani once bragged that by giving negative treatment to his targets, "the media does the job for me." Giuliani certainly had no difficulty manipulating Wall Street Journal reporters James B. Stewart, Daniel Hertzberg and Laurie Cohen or The Predators’ Ball author Connie Bruck. Milken, who had done nothing except make a lot of money by proving Wall Street wrong about non-investment grade bonds, was branded the "Cosa Nostra of the securities world."
Milken’s "junk bonds" financed such household names as CNN, Barnes & Noble, Stone Container Corporation, Time-Warner, Safeway, and Mattel. Milken provided capital to companies with promising futures that lacked investment-grade credit rankings. Milken operated out of Los Angeles, not Wall Street. His earnings and those of his upstart firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert, aroused envy and hatred among the Wall Street hot shots. Milken failed to use his money to purchase political protection in Washington. Instead, he gave his money to organizations that help poor black children.
Milken was set up perfectly for an ambitious and unscrupulous prosecutor like Giuliani.
Giuliani leaked to his media pimps that a 98-count indictment was coming down against Milken. As Milken had done nothing and Giuliani had no case against him, Giuliani’s strategy was to coerce Milken into a plea bargain. When Milken failed to send his attorneys to work out a plea arrangement, Giuliani used Laurie Cohen to report eighteen times in the Wall Street Journal that Milken would imminently face an expanded superseding indictment of between 160 and 300 counts.
To increase the pressure on Milken, prosecutors threatened to indict Milken’s younger brother, Lowell, unless Milken made a plea deal. US Attorney General Dick Thornburgh quipped to his deputies: "A brother for a brother." Afterwards, Giuliani’s assistant US attorney, John Carroll, told Seton Hall Law School students in April 1992 that Lowell Milken was a "sort of ready chip in the negotiations." Giuliani even went so far as to send FBI agents to hound Milken’s 92-year old grandfather.
Milken’s attorneys concluded that Giuliani, lacking any case, was far out on a limb and desperate for a face-saving plea. They worked out a plea to six minor technical offenses that had never carried any prison time. But Giuliani was determined to have his victim, and Milken was double-crossed by sentencing judge, Kimba "Bimbo" Wood, and spent two years of his life in prison.
Giuliani’s assistant US attorney John Carroll later bragged to Seton Hall Law students that in the Milken case "we’re guilty of criminalizing technical offenses. . . . Many of the prosecution theories we used were novel. Many of the statutes that we charged under . . . hadn’t been charged as crimes before. . . . We’re looking to find the next areas of conduct that meets any sort of statutory definition of what criminal conduct is."
It is a damning indication of the collapse of American law that an assistant US attorney can be well received when he brags to law school students that federal prosecutors frame Americans with novel interpretations that create ex post facto law and violate mens rea – no crime without intent – the foundation of the Anglo-American legal system.
In his book, Payback: The Conspiracy to Destroy Michael Milken and His Financial Revolution, University of Chicago law professor and dean Daniel Fischel proves Milken’s innocence. But when prosecutors are corrupt, innocence is no protection.
Giuliani’s crimes were not limited to Milken and Princeton/Newport. After investigating, I concluded that Giuliani framed Leona Helmsley with the suborned perjury of one of Helmsley’s accountants, whose own infraction in helping to defraud the Miller Brewing Company was dropped in exchange for false witness against Helmsley.
I wrote about Helmsley’s frame-up in National Review, and my story was picked up by one of the TV shows of the era. Both Alan Dershowitz and Robert Bork share my conviction that Helmsley was framed with suborned perjury.
Today National Review is a Giuliani partisan, as is the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. During Giuliani’s "white-collar crime heyday," the Wall Street Journal editorial page was busy exposing Giuliani’s duplicity and misuse of the media to create cases against innocent targets.
Giuliani rode his prosecutions of the rich to the NYC mayoralty, just as he rode 9/11 to become a GOP presidential candidate. Giuliani’s career never served justice; it served his personal ambition, his ego. That a person so short on integrity could become a candidate for president is a damning indictment of the US political system.
The account of Giuliani’s prosecution of Milken comes from my book with Lawrence Stratton, The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
May 11, 2007
Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail] wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is author or coauthor of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholar journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He is also coauthor with Karen Araujo of Chile: Dos Visiones – La Era Allende-Pinochet (Santiago: Universidad Andres Bello, 2000).