‘A fallen hero’: Rudy Giuliani faces the music

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Many of his former colleagues and friends have abandoned him, but he still has his defenders, which include a celebrity divorce attorney and, improbably, one of the former mafia members he prosecuted.

Michael Franzese, an ex-Colombo family member who was known as the “Yuppie Don,” was indicted by Giuliani’s office for racketeering in 1984, but he was acquitted at trial.

“I had as much business being in that case as you did,” Franzese said in an interview.

Franzese ultimately served eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty in a racketeering case brought by Brooklyn federal prosecutors. While behind bars, he renounced his gangster ways and left the mob, becoming a motivational speaker and author.

Franzese said he was both shocked and grateful when Giuliani agreed last year to write the foreword to his book, “Mafia Democracy.”

“My opinion of him has changed,” Franzese said. “I don’t want him to go to prison.”

Raoul Felder, a high-profile divorce lawyer, said he believes his longtime friend will beat the case. 

“For Rudy, it’s a Greek tragedy because he’s a man of enormous talent, enormous temperament, enormous ethical principles,” Felder said. 

Jeffrey Harris holds a much different view of Giuliani and the charges he now faces. 

Harris and Giuliani were close friends when they worked together as assistant U.S. attorneys in New York in the 1970s and later at the Justice Department in Washington. But Harris said he can’t understand what became of the smart, outstanding lawyer he knew. 

“When I was thinking about marrying my wife, the person I went to to see what he thought was Rudy,” Harris said. “This pains my heart.”

Among the most outrageous claims cited in the indictment were Giuliani’s allegations during a state legislative hearing in Georgia that two Black election workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, were “quite obviously surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they’re vials of heroin or cocaine.” (Moss later testified that it was a “ginger mint.”)

Harris said he was reminded of an old story when he watched clips of Giuliani bad-mouthing Freeman and Moss.

It was around 1982. The two men had just returned to their desks at the Justice Department after running out to pick up lunch when Giuliani received a call from the Office of Professional Responsibility, saying someone had reported that he had walked through the building’s courtyard carrying a brown bag full of drugs. 

“It was obviously BS, and he was apoplectic to say the least,” Harris said. “He could talk about nothing else for the rest of the day.”

“Here’s a guy who should know better,” Harris added, referring to Giuliani’s false claims about the election workers, “because when a similar thing happened to him the outrage was uncontained.”

‘A fallen hero’

Giuliani has known Trump for decades. 

In some ways, they were kindred spirits. Both were larger-than-life New York figures who craved attention and prized loyalty. 

Giuliani delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Trump’s father, Fred, in 1999 and attended Trump’s wedding at Mar-a-Lago in 2005. 

In 2000, the two men appeared together in a memorable skit for an annual charity dinner, with Giuliani dressed in drag and Trump nuzzling the then-mayor’s fake bosom.

“Oh, you dirty boy, you!” Giuliani exclaimed before slapping Trump in the face.




POST AUTHOR: Rich Schapiro

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