Rudy Giuliani reportedly sought a pre-emptive pardon from President Donald Trump, but that might be difficult to pull off -- and might backfire and result in state charges.
The president's personal attorney, who once served as New York City's mayor and as a U.S. Attorney, has not yet been convicted of or even charged with a federal crime, so far as the public knows, and a pardon would be required to describe what he had allegedly done, according to former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers in a column for The Daily Beast.
"Imagine what the old Rudy Giuliani, United States Attorney, crime-buster and thorn in the side of organized crime, would think of the current iteration, a man under investigation by the office he used to lead trying to persuade Trump to save him from the possibility of going to federal prison for his corrupt behavior," wrote Rodgers, who prosecuted cases for the same office Giuliani once led.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are investigating Giuliani's role in the Ukraine scheme that got Trump impeached, and his two former close associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are awaiting trial on fraud and campaign finance charges in a case that may also involve the former mayor.
"Certainly Giuliani would want coverage for his Ukraine-related conduct and for anything related to his involvement with Fruman and Parnas," Rodgers wrote. "Beyond that, it would be very interesting to see what else might make its way into the document, and whether Rudy would try to take a so-called immunity bath by asking Trump to include possibly illegal conduct that is unrelated to these matters, and potentially unrelated to his work for Trump altogether."
However, a Trump pardon would not protect Giuliani, who has denied seeking a pardon, from prosecution for state crimes, which could include his dealings with Parnas and Fruman or investigations by New York's attorney general into the Trump Organization -- and a presidential pardon might point prosecutors to those potential misdeeds.
"Wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony—to have Giuliani’s play for pardon protection from federal charges that may never come backfire by leading to pardon-proof state charges?" Rodgers wrote. "I wouldn’t put it past him."