There was no more zealous and passionate public defender of candidate Donald Trump than former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani served as the Trump campaign’s chief fireman, sent-in to give interviews on mainstream news networks during the most difficult moments of the campaign.
He was under consideration for a cabinet position in the Trump White House before removing himself from consideration. He even advised the President on his infamous attempt to institute a Muslim ban via executive order shortly after his inauguration.
Now the New York Times is reporting that ‘America’s Mayor’ has a landed a new, very high-profile Turkish defendant, one sitting in U.S. jail right now awaiting trial for facilitating a massive financial operation to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran.
“Reza Zarrab has been charged with facilitating millions of dollars in illicit transactions on behalf of Iran and other sanctioned entities through the use of front companies and false documentation. Prosecutors have said he ‘allegedly tricked numerous U.S. financial institutions into processing barred transactions.'”
According to the United States attorney’s office in New York, they were informed in a court filing Monday evening that Giuliani, along with former George W. Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey, “have been retained by the defendant and are involved in, and will continue to be involved in, efforts to explore a potential disposition of the criminal charges in this matter.”
This case has been of particular interest to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Times report alleges that Giuliani and Mukasey traveled to Turkey meet with the Turkish dictator in February on this matter.
Mr. Erdogan has publicly criticized Mr. Zarrab’s prosecution in the United States. According to Turkish news reports, Mr. Erdogan said last fall that he had raised Mr. Zarrab’s case with then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. during talks at the United Nations, and Mr. Erdogan also said there were “malicious” intentions in the prosecution, according to the reports.
To be clear, there doesn’t appear to be any ethical or legal issues with Giuliani taking on a client like Reza Zarrab, as he has never served in an official role in the Trump administration.
What we can say for certain is this: Giuliani is now another link in a long chain of Trump’s inner circle that have a dubious financial link to a foreign government – maybe even an enemy nation.
A close friend of the President, who served on his campaign, and advised him on at least one executive order, revealed that he’s now defending a Turkish citizen with close ties that country’s dictator (who’s accused himself paying Michael Flynn to help him kidnap an adversary of his) and is accused of running a financial ring to benefit Iran in violation of U.S. Sanctions.
The next time someone tries to tell you that Trump and his team are all about “America First,” remind them of this.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.