Two Rudy Giuliani associates scored a rare meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr earlier this year after joining the legal team of a Ukrainian oligarch facing extradition to the United States.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday on Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova’s unusual meeting with the attorney general, citing three unnamed people familiar with the meeting. The Post reported that, in the meeting, Toensing and diGenova argued against the bribery charges that the oligarch is facing in the Northern District of Illinois for years.
The oligarch, Dmitry Firtash, has fought a lengthy battle against extradition to the United States in various courts in Austria, where he was arrested in 2014.
Barr “declined to intercede” in Firtash’s case, in the Post’s words. A Justice Department spokesperson told the Post that the Firtash case “has the support of the department leadership” and that “we continue to work closely with the Austrian Ministry of Justice to extradite Mr. Firtash.”
After the Austrian Supreme Court affirmed in June that Firtash should be extradited to the United States, Firtash changed his legal strategy.
He ditched Lanny Davis, who also represents Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, and brought on diGenova and Toensing, the TV-friendly pro-Trump couple who helped Rudy Giulani look for dirt that would be helpful for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
Toensing’s son, Brady Toensing, joined the Justice Department as a senior counsel in the Office of Legal Policy in June. He was previously the vice chair of Vermont’s Republican Party.
Firtash reportedly met diGenova and Toensing through Lev Parnas, one half of a duo that now faces federal charges in the Southern District of New York based on an alleged campaign finance conspiracy. Along with Toensing and diGenova, Parnas and his partner Igor Fruman also helped Giuliani look for dirt in Ukraine. Toensing and diGenova in turn hired Parnas as an interpreter for their Firtash work.
Firtash’s legal team has denied helping Giulani. But an affidavit entered into Firtash’s case in September, written by the fired former top prosecutor in Ukraine Viktor Shokin, has been cited by Giuliani and other Trump allies in their effort to smear Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 elections.
Bloomberg reported Friday that Firtash paid diGenova and Toensing $1 million for their dirt-digging work, which the publication reported was part of an effort to get Rudy Giuliani’s help in the oligarch’s legal case.