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GOP Rivals in New York Sniping Over Noriega Commercials

May 22, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ Republican mayoral candidate Ronald Lauder says his campaign has a right to question the link between Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and Rudolph Giuliani, Lauder’s rival for the GOP nomination.

Giuliani, Manhattan’s former federal prosecutor, recently joined the law firm White & Case, which lists Panama as a client. The firm has said it has done no work for Noriega himself.

A Lauder commercial depicts side-by-side pictures of Giuliani and Noriega, who has been indicted in Florida on drug trafficking charges. An announcer says: ″Rudy Giuliani is being paid almost $1 million by the law firm that represents Panama’s drug dictator Noriega. That’s incredible. That’s Rudy Giuliani.″

Giuliani on Saturday called the spot ″a lie - an outrage to me and my family.″

His spokesman, Charles Perkins, said the law firm ″has never worked for Manuel Noriega, and Rudy Giuliani’s salary is nowhere near $1 million.″

Retorted Lauder, ″Everything I’ve read over the years is that Noriega is Panama.″