I will admit to being highly critical of Rudy Giuliani’s representation of President Donald Trump for many years (here and here and here and here and here and here and here). He has consistently made statements in interviews that seem diametrically at odds with the interests of his client and his comments have repeatedly forced later corrections or clarifications by the White House or himself. This history led to his prior firm severing ties with him. However, despite that history, nothing prepared me for the video posted by the Recount showing Giuliani breaking off from detailing allegations against Hunter Biden to shill for cigars and gold coins. To be honest, the video comes across as Lionel Hutz of the Simpsons meets Offer Shlomi of ShamWow. Some have raised renewed questions of whether he is helping or hurting his legal team. I do not view this commercial as a bar violation though it raises an increasing issue over the ethical rules governing dual roles of counsel.
In fairness to Giuliani, this is a commercial in his podcast. It is common for podcasts to have paid sponsors. I am not sure that it is fair to object to Giuliani doing commercials. However, my unease is doing such pitches so in the midst of his representation of the President and his campaign. The commercials undermine the credibility of his case by reinforcing the narrative of Democrats that the election and Biden investigations are all about a media and political marketing campaign. As counsel, you have to consider how such commercial enterprises and appearances will impact your client.
Rule 1.8 states:
(a) A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire an ownership, possessory, security or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client unless:
(1) the transaction and terms on which the lawyer acquires the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed and transmitted in writing in a manner that can be reasonably understood by the client;
(2) the client is advised in writing of the desirability of seeking and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent legal counsel on the transaction; and
(3) the client gives informed consent, in a writing signed by the client, to the essential terms of the transaction and the lawyer’s role in the transaction, including whether the lawyer is representing the client in the transaction.
I do not view this as a violation of Rule 1.8. Such pitches for products (while arguing the merits of allegations against Biden) do not directly contradict Trump or his campaign. He is after all arguing the merits of these allegations. However, the pitches can undermine his own credibility and therefore the credibility of the case. (It was an ironic pitch since Giuliani was embroiled in a messy divorce in which his ex-wife accused him of spending $18,000 on cigars alone)
Ironically, President Trump was accused of shilling his own products during the campaign. However, he was not counsel in pending cases.
The question is whether such pitches are appropriate for lawyers like Giuliani. Again, I would argue that it does not violate bar rules. Indeed, I have been critical of the weaponization of bar complaints recently by Democratic leaders and legal experts, including a bar complaint filed against Trump campaign counsel Joe diGenova.
Yet, such pitches can undermine a case or a client. There are often questions raised when counsel engages in fundraising campaigns as with the recent efforts related to Kyle Rittenhouse. I was critical of such fundraising efforts by Michael Cohen and others. It is a tricky balance since pitches for support can impact a criminal case or even fun afoul of court-imposed gag orders. However, there is often a real need for criminal defendants to secure such funding to pay for their defense.
Most recently, St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner was taken off the controversial McCloskey case due to her using the prosecution to fundraise.
This is not fundraising for a defense. Giuliani has every right to pursue a career as a commentator and to support himself through such commercials. However, it is the timing that is troubling. The commercials appear to have been running in November with the campaign and expected litigation in the news. He was already counsel for the President. In his favor, President Trump knew Giuliani was a public persona and had such media enterprises. Moreover, plenty of Democratic lawyers work for MSNBC or CNN as analysts and continue to represent clients in high profile litigation against the Administration despite controversial statements in the media. This type of hybrid role is becoming increasingly common, particularly in lawyers with media careers or outlets.
You can judge for yourself.
Here is the video.
Rudy Giuliani Hustles Cigars And Gold Coins In An Absurd Video That Paints The Bidens As The Modern Version Of The Corleone Crime Family
As Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani knows many of the president’s darkest secrets, with a level of security clearance that only a select few (Trump’s son-in-law) are granted. But he’s also a goo-dripping huckster who gets duped by Borat, gives press conferences next to a sex shop, and now sells cigars and gold coins on his personal YouTube page. I guess that $20,000 a day isn’t cutting it.
As discovered by the Recount, Giuliani interrupted his most recent video, “Joe Biden: Top Of The BIDEN CRIME FAMILY Totem Pole,” to read ad copy for American Hartford Gold and Famous Smoke Shop. It’s the far-right’s Casper Mattress and Bonobos! “If you want a good cigar, go to a good cigar shop. You want the best? Go to Famous Smoke Shop” he said. “Let Famous Smoke deliver your favorite cigars right to your doorstep at America’s lowest prices.” If you visit Famous-Smoke.com/Rudy, you can even get $20 off your first purchase (if you spend at least $99). But it gets better! “Tell them Rudy sent you!” Giuliani reads during the promo for American Hartford Gold. What happens if you tell them Rudy sent you? Basically nothing! But don’t worry, Bill O’Reilly is also on board.
Again, this is the president’s lawyer selling stogies and coins in a YouTube video where he’s otherwise ranting about the Bidens like they’re the Corleone family. I can’t stress that enough. No wonder even Trump thinks he’s “a joke.” Watch the highlights here:
And the entire thing below:
26 thoughts on “Rudy Goes Full Shlomi? Video of Giuliani Shilling For Cigars and Gold Coins Raises New Representation Concerns”
Jonathan: I think the verdict is already in on Rudy Giuliani. He is a train wreck trying to impersonate an attorney. He has given lawyers everywhere a bad name. I watched Giuliani’s podcast. It was a painful experience. In between pitching for gold coins and cigars Giuliani waved around pieces of paper he continues to falsely claim proves the many crimes of the “Biden crime family”. And Giuliani just can’t understand why neither the media nor the feds have treated his claims seriously. In The Hill on election day Bill Press best summarized Giuliani’s fall from grace: “For political historians, one of the biggest mysteries of the 21st century will remain. How did Giuliani go from being celebrated worldwide as ‘America’s Mayor’ [after 9/11] to being disgraced as a purveyor of fake news, an international buffoon, the catalyst for Donald Trump’s impeachment and the clueless target of Borat’s latest prank”.
The real disgrace is that after Trump leaves office (either voluntarily or with assistance from the Secret Service) and Giuliani hopefully passes into obscurity you have taken up the cause of trying to discredit the in-coming Biden administration by attacking his son Hunter. In a column just prior to this one you mock President-elect Biden’s interview with Stephen Colbert. You first attempt to exonerate Trump in the Russian investigation and then claim “[t]here is comparably far more evidence supporting the investigation of Hunter Biden”, Never mind that after a year of investigating Hunter he has yet to be charged with any crime. But you have a fall-back position: “Even if you believe Hunter cannot be charged with a crime, the criminal code is not the only measure of wrongdoing. This was a raw influence peddling on a global scale. It was wrong in its own right”. This is a strange argument coming from a lawyer. “Influence peddling” may be “wrong” but it is not illegal. If Hunter Biden is to charged under this standard then Trump and a lot of people in the outgoing administration could equally be charged. No doubt many Trump officials will use their resumes to get lucrative positions on corporate boards after they leave office. That’s also “influence peddling”. Hunter is no saint. He has admitted to a prior drug problem. He used extremely bad judgment in trading the family name to get a lucrative position on the board of Burisma. But, to date, there is no evidence he engaged in criminal conduct in either Ukraine or his business activities in China.
The incoming Biden administration is going to face a number of serious problems–like fighting the Covid pandemic and a tanked economy. I guess you see your role as making life for Joe Biden as difficult as possible by forcing him to continue to answer questions about his son instead of addressing all the challenges that face the country. This is a sad commentary on how conservatives will try in the next 4 years to undermine anything the new administration will try to do to clean up Trump’s mess.
Hunter is just the bag man. The corruption goes straight to the top – to the Big Guy. Joe Biden is bought and paid for by China. He has disqualified himself from ever holding high public office again. The Chinese yuan was tanking during the election when it appeared Trump was going to be reelected. Then all of a sudden vote counting stopped for the night in key swing states. Shortly thereafter, more than enough votes push Joe over the top. The yuan stabilized.
The election was stolen. Did China interfere on behalf of Biden? It is far more likely than the scenario that Russia helped Trump. The math does not add up to a Biden landslide.
Speaking of undermining an incoming adminstration, apparently you have not been paying attention to what Democrats and their media have been doing these past four years.
And yes, Joe Biden’s life should be made as uncomfortable as possible. He should not be given a pass by the media or anyone. Buckle up Joe.
Presumably Giuliani is demonetized by YouTube as conservatives routinely are. If that were not the case, maybe he wouldn’t hawk gold. Perhaps a more interesting topic would be: why is it ok to routinely and automatically demonetize and ban conservatives from social media platforms?
SCOTUS has responded to the census case, Trump v. New York, dismissing it for lack of jurisdiction: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20-366_7647.pdf
Response from the ACLU:
“BREAKING: The Supreme Court just ruled that our lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census was premature. This fight isn’t over. If this policy is actually implemented, we’ll see them right back in court.”
If Giuliani had a mountain of evidence against Hunter Biden for the past 2 years, why did Trump need to ask Zelensky & Ukraine to investigate Hunter last year? Why didn’t Rudy give his mountain of evidence to Trump’s attorneys at the Senate impeachment trial? Why did Rudy wait until 3 weeks before the election to give the story to the New York Post?
This is all beginning to smell like a cheap cigar.
Say what you want about Rudy, at least he is one of the few claiming to represent the President who isn’t counseling martial law.
I know this is off topic, but given the recent wild talk, it needs to be reemphasized: there is NO LIKELY CIRCUMSTANCE under which martial law is necessary.
If the President can make a compelling case that the election was stolen, there will be plenty of folks in Congress who will challenge the electors. If the President doesn’t have enough evidence, talk of martial law hurts his own case. It looks bad. The President should make it unequivocally clear that while everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, he, the President, does NOT SUPPORT ANY SUGGESTION OF MARTIAL LAW.
At least Rudy understands that–I hope.
It’s kind of hard to show evidence when there is no real investigation by the DOJ and Trump’s side is not allowed anywhere near that evidence.In Arizona, the election board has refused to comply with a subpoena. There are never any consequences for this type of behavior as they well know. The point of invoking the Insurrection Act is that it allows the military to seize the evidence and do their own investigation. Is it ideal? No. But it is preferable to no investigation at all. If Trump’s team cannot get near the evidence, the challenge on Jan 6 is doomed to fail, and I believe it will happen and it will fail. I also believe that the Insurrection Act was meant to address just this type of situation. We have had a slow burning insurrection in this country for years. The actions of the FBI against Flynn and Trump were part of that insurrection. But everybody is hypnotized into thinking that any form of lawlessness is somehow justified as long as it is directed at Trump. This is not only unfair to Trump and his family, it sets a very dangerous precedent. Yesterday Turley discussed how 1A was meant to protect unpopular speech. In the same way, the law is meant to protect unpopular people. This has completely broken down over the past four years. I believe, frankly, that it’s all part of the divine plan to show America her weak spots. Unfortunately, America is not paying attention.
Maybe he feels compelled to do ad reads on his personal page since many conservative voices are being demonetized on the platform?
You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s an advertisement — you know, like those that run when you’re on Fox. And that are on countless law sites, such as Above the Law, VC, the ABA Journal, and countless others.
How far the mighty have fallen. A top notch prosecutor to America’s mayor to a product shill. The lesson here is not that Giuliani is a product shill, but that you cannot take him seriously when he puts on the professional hat. This is not about him per se, but all of them. It may be legal and I have zero issue with him or any other from either side of the political line shilling, but how can you take them seriously? Maybe the chase for the almighty dollar has blinded them to who they once were.
Lawyer Giuliani selling cigars is not half as bad as Constitutional Law professor Toobin masturbating on a zoom call.
I read that he ejaculated on the Zoom call in full view of all attendees and that CNN’s Zucker is giving him his job back? As if it is hard to find another talking head with a law degree to replace Toobin. What a disgrace.
I hate listening to this new yorkie voice. Put this turdy turd and a turd off the internet.
Mr. Giuliani has always been a self serving hack.
He did some good as mayor after 9/11, but I have never forgotten the Richard Wigton persecution.
Giuliani destroyed an innocent man for political gain.
(It was an ironic pitch since Giuliani was embroiled in a messy divorce in which his ex-wife accused him of spending $18,000 on cigars alone)
In the dark ages of practice when divorce cases were forced on me, I had a husband client get challenged with something like this. He had an annual cigar bill almost as large. In response, we subpoenaed the wife’s account at a large department store. Her makeup/perfume charges were about double the cigar toll. The case settled. Vainglory is a deadly sin, too, you know.
In my last divorce case over 35 years ago the couple were unable to agree on custody of two porcelain Pomeranians. Never took another divorce case and have no regrets.
I had a hearing over two shell lamps. People are crazy.
Leave it to Turley to make a long winded explanation saying Rudy is a moron.
He should have been disbarred a long time ago.
Plus this just proves trump doesn’t hire the best. He hires the best a$$ kissers for the least amount of money.
Rudy’s not a moron — just a typical New Yorker where brashness substitutes for common sense sometimes.
Mespo, Rudy is a moron. In the past he was probably much better. Today not so much.
That’s the cold hard truth about Rudy. The man is just a moron.
Rudy is actually the most accomplished politician of his generation, one with real verifiable accomplishments. And we get this bilge from someone who fancies Barack Obama is something other than an empty suit. You want to locate a moron, Peter, look in the mirror.
“You want to locate a moron, Peter, look in the mirror.”
LOL You’re right. It’s not exactly a “Gold Bug” exercise for him.
Art Deco, he WAS an accomplished politician. Not anymore. He wrecked all of his credibility with poor judgment and incompetence. The man couldn’t make a straightforward argument in court.
At least Turley recognizes a Moron when he sees one then provides proof of why he did and does.
The Left on the other hand is inundated with them but embrace their moronic conduct and elevate them to lofty positions that is an insult to honest Morons.
$20K a day = least amount of money. OK then…
When you can’t make it on $20,000 a day and provide zero results? Things are not….the best.
Comments are closed.