Judge: Man in Giuliani associates’ case can’t block evidence
NEW YORK (AP) — A man charged with conspiring with associates of Rudy Giuliani to make illegal campaign contributions can’t stop prosecutors from using materials he sent to his lawyers as evidence against him, a judge ruled Monday.
U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken ruled in the case in Manhattan federal court against David Correia.
The case is among those that Geoffrey S. Berman was directing before he was ousted Saturday as U..S. attorney in Manhattan.
A defiant Berman, who initially refused to resign Friday when Attorney General William Barr announced he was quitting, stepped down only after Barr agreed that ongoing investigations wouldn’t be disturbed and that Berman’s deputy could temporarily take the top spot.
Giuliani has been investigated as part of the probe into his associates, but there was no indication that any decision regarding him was imminent.
Oetken’s ruling Monday came after lawyers for Correia tried to get the materials suppressed, arguing that they were protected by attorney-client privilege or should be considered a work product between an attorney and his client.
But the judge said Correia had offered nothing to support the notion that the two notebooks, a hard drive, a computer and a smartphone were created in preparation for his defense.
A message seeking comment was left with Correia’s lawyer.
Prosecutors had argued they had the right to intercept the materials after Correia tried to mail them to his lawyers before flying to New York to surrender last October, apparently to avoid having them seized when he was arrested. Prosecutors obtained a warrant for the package.
A separate “filter team” of prosecutors supervised by senior prosecutors not handling the case then reviewed the materials to separate anything that was privileged.
Correia, of West Palm Beach, Florida, has pleaded not guilty after he was among four men charged with arranging illegal contributions to politicians to aid their political and business interests. He is free on bail.
Prosecutors said Correia was involved in a scheme to make illegal campaign donations to local and federal politicians in New York, Nevada and other states to try to win support for a new recreational marijuana business.
Two other men charged in the case, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, worked with Giuliani to try and get Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of Democrat Joe Biden. They have both pleaded not guilty to charges.
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has served as a legal adviser to President Donald Trump, has said he had no knowledge of illegal donations and hadn’t seen any evidence that Parnas and Fruman did anything wrong.