Manhattan federal prosecutors may have been tracking Rudy Giuliani’s movements and phone calls, an attorney suggested in botched redactions in a court filing.
According to a filing in a separate case made by attorney Joseph Bondy, both Giuliani and fellow Ukraine-dirt digger Victoria Toensing have been subject to the seizure of “historical and prospective cell site information.”
The filing was improperly redacted, meaning that text beneath blackened parts of the document could be revealed by copying-and-pasting the words into a new document. Bondy, an attorney for Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, wrote in the filing that he based his information on a chart of the investigation’s progress to date that federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York had supplied him.
Experts in the field of cell site information told TPM that cell site information would likely afford prosecutors a rough look at Giuliani’s location, and would give them a record of who Giuliani was speaking with over the phone, when those conversations took place, and their duration.
“Prospective” data, Larry Daniel, a digital forensics expert in Raleigh, N.C., told TPM, would mean that prosecutors would receive the information from the date of the seizure going forward to an unspecified point in time. Bondy’s filing says that the seizure was made on April 13, 2021.
“If I wanted to know if Mr. Giuliani was talking to particular people, then it’s not too difficult to find out who has those phone numbers,” Daniels told TPM, saying that prosecutors would have a list of phone numbers Giuliani had held calls with.
The filing from Bondy said that both Giuliani and Toensing, a lawyer and conservative media personality who joined the former New York City mayor on his Ukraine dirt-digging expedition, were targets of the cell site information seizure.
Neither Giuliani nor Toensing have been charged with any wrongdoing.
Steve Burgess, a digital forensics expert in San Luis Obispo, California, told TPM that the cell site information would likely give a rough sense of Giuliani’s location.
“Basically, it’s a spreadsheet they send,” Burgess said. “Generally, it’s going to have latitude and longitude, direction the antennae was pointed.”
Daniels said that while the location information tends not to be used at trial, it can help prosecutors track a target.
“It’s not precise location, it’s not GPS, but if you have the cell site, you can see that he starts every day in this area, connects to this cell tower, and ends up at this cell tower,” Daniels said.
The move comes after prosecutors executed search warrants on Giuliani’s home and office last month, taking 11 of the former New York City mayor’s personal devices and seven devices from his company, Giuliani Security Partners LLC.
Bob Costello, an attorney for Giuliani, did not immediately return a request for comment.