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Fri Oct 18, 2019, 08:19 PM

Friends With Benefits: Donald and Rudy's Long, Strange Partnership: For decades, the two ambitious

Friends With Benefits: Donald and Rudy’s Long, Strange Partnership

For decades, the two ambitious New Yorkers have found ways to use each other’s celebrity to stoke their own.



October 18, 2019

| Illustration by Adría Fruitos

Long, long before he was Donald Trump’s personal attorney and devoted defender, Rudy Giuliani wasn’t exactly a fan. The first time, actually, he invoked Trump’s name in a high-profile, high-stakes setting, Giuliani was the prosecutor in a public corruption case.

The setting was the federal courthouse in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1986. Giuliani was the top gun from the Southern District of New York. And the main defendant, accused of taking kickbacks from companies for whom he helped score contracts with the city’s Parking Violations Bureau, was Stanley Friedman—a former deputy mayor, the Democratic Party chair in the Bronx and a lobbyist who the year before had netted nearly a million dollars. He typically sported a goatee, pinstriped suits with a pocket square and glasses with his initials in rhinestones. He spent his days on the phone, chain-chomping cigars, a human hub of old-style favor-trading. “A bribe broker,” Giuliani called him. “A force to be reckoned with,” his own attorney would grant in his memoir. And the perch from which Friedman presided was his office at the law firm of one of his closest associates, Roy Cohn, and one of his most prominent clients was Cohn’s most noted mentee—Donald Trump.

Trump wasn’t on trial but Giuliani didn’t do his reputation any favors. Giuliani sketched for the jury what he called this “cesspool of corruption,” this tale of “plunder,” this story of “the buying and selling of public office.” Knitting the men together, Giuiliani cast Trump as a preeminent beneficiary of Friedman’s expansive, crooked clout.

“During the latter part of time that you were deputy mayor,” Giuliani posed, referring to Friedman’s official capacity in the late 1970s in the administration of Trump family friend Mayor Abe Beame, “You had meetings with Roy Cohn and talked about joining his law firm, isn’t that correct?”..................................

Photos of Rudy Giuliani in 1986 after winning an important legal case. Donald Trump outside of a courthouse during a legal proceeding in 1986.

Over 30 years ago, when he was a U.S. Attorney prosecuting a corruption case against an associate of Donald Trump’s lawyer Roy Cohn, Rudy Giuliani (left) first uttered the name of the future president (right, also in 1986) in a high-profile, public setting. | Robin Graubard/NY Daily News via Getty Images; AP Photo/Robin

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