‘He’s Had Great Challenges’: Giuliani Holds 80th Birthday Amid Many Woes


Consider this Midtown split screen.

Donald J. Trump on Friday appeared in the lobby of the gilded Fifth Avenue tower that bears his name to crow about the affection and campaign cash that have poured in since his conviction on 34 felonies.

A few blocks away, at an Italian restaurant on East 56th Street, his former lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, was having a party for his 80th birthday. There was little to celebrate. Mr. Giuliani’s run-ins with the law have left his life and finances in tatters.

As he left a previous party celebrating the same birthday, he was served notice of his indictment in an Arizona election-interference case. He has also been indicted in Georgia in connection to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr. Giuliani has filed for bankruptcy and owes two Georgia women a $148 million judgment from a defamation case. He is relying on a 9/11 charity as one of his last financial lifelines. Mr. Trump has done little to help with his legal bills.

Earlier that very day, a board that oversees lawyer discipline in Washington recommended that Mr. Giuliani be disbarred.

A little after 6 p.m., he stepped out of a Dodge Durango, helped along by a security detail, and into the restaurant, Amata, a white table-clothed, red-sauce joint owned by the brother-in-law of Anthony Carbonetti, the former mayor’s chief of staff at City Hall, who attended the party.

Mr. Giuliani’s bow-tied lawyer, Barry Kamins, stood outside and discussed his besieged client’s state of mind: “He’s had great challenges, and I think it’s amazing that under the pressure he’s been under, he’s been able to maintain his sanity in all of this.”

Mr. Giuliani has been dropped by many friends and associates. Most recently, John Catsimatidis, the Republican billionaire who owns the WABC radio station, yanked Mr. Giuliani from the airwaves after he refused to stop spouting falsehoods about the 2020 election. A public spat between the two old pals played out in the pages of The New York Post.

“I know that we’ve tried to get people to come step up for him as character references, and a lot of people disappointed us, and he’s been disappointed in them as well,” Mr. Kamins said.

Standing beside Mr. Kamins was Arthur Aidala, a lawyer who specializes in representing tabloid villains, sporting a panama hat at dusk. (“It keeps my bald head out of the sun,” he said.)

“Anyone who thinks that Mr. Giuliani is off his game in terms of legal acumen is strongly mistaken,” Mr. Aidala said. “He’s sharp as a tack. We also represent Mayor Giuliani in his case in Georgia.”

Was there anyone at this shindig who was not a lawyer? “The waiter,” Mr. Kamins said.

Mr. Aidala also happened to be spending time at the Lower Manhattan courthouse where Mr. Trump had stood trial. He is representing Harvey Weinstein, who appeared there Wednesday for a procedural hearing. Like many at the birthday party, Mr. Aidala was displeased by Mr. Trump’s conviction on charges related to hiding hush money paid to a porn star.

“I don’t think there’s any other human being that would have been charged the way that President Trump was charged in this case,” he said, “and it’s not because I’m a political fan of President Trump. It’s that I’m a fan of the criminal justice system, and I think we should be prosecuting people who commit real crimes against real New Yorkers.”

Inside, meatballs and penne alla vodka were served to a crowd that included Mr. Giuliani’s son, Andrew; his daughter, Caroline; Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner under Mr. Giuliani, who once pleaded guilty to eight felony charges; and Rudy Washington, who was deputy mayor under Mr. Giuliani. Also in attendance were a few right-wing media personalities, including the former Breitbart News editor Raheem Kassam and Miranda Devine, a New York Post columnist.

Mr. Giuliani’s security detail, Michael Ragusa, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, stood sentinel by the door, with a large can of mace holstered to his leg and denying entrance. Scott LoBaido, a Trump-loving artist from Staten Island who regularly stepped out to smoke a Marlboro Light, said he recently became “besties” with Mr. Giuliani.

“He’s one of those individuals that are constantly being persecuted, and I understand that because I’m always persecuted for being a conservative artist, so I like hanging out with people like that.”

A van bearing a decal reading “ULTRA MAGA” was parked on the corner of the block. It belonged to a party guest who called himself “Joe the Box.” He is the proprietor of what is known as the America First warehouse, a Suffolk County depot for Trump-themed merchandise. A man walking past the restaurant came to a stop when his dog tried to urinate. He yanked on the dog’s leash and quickly moved on.

Inside, a large flat screen on a stand was wheeled over to Mr. Giuliani’s table, according to a recording that a guest later shared with The New York Times. Mr. Giuliani sat cross-legged and watched, eagerly, as a birthday message from the former president was played for all to see.

In the video, Mr. Trump stands with a small crowd of people who appear to be his supporters.

“They heard I was going to say a little happy birthday salutation to you, and they said, ‘Can we stay? Because we love Rudy Giuliani!’”

The party guests inside the restaurant cheered. “You’re a special guy, and we love you, Rudy,” Mr. Trump continued. “Just keep fighting. There’s nobody like you.”

Mr. Giuliani beamed. The video was played again.



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