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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Martin Pengelly in New York

Rudy Giuliani sued by former associate alleging sexual assault and harassment

Portrait of Rudy Giuliani.
Rudy Giuliani has been sued by Noelle Dunphy, his former associate, who alleges that the former New York mayor sexually assaulted her. Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

A former associate of Rudy Giuliani sued the former New York mayor, presidential candidate and attorney to Donald Trump for $10m on Monday, alleging “abuses of power, wide-ranging sexual assault and harassment, wage theft and other misconduct” including “alcohol-drenched rants that included sexist, racist and antisemitic remarks”.

Filed in New York state, Noelle Dunphy’s suit includes the allegation that Giuliani “often demanded oral sex while he took phone calls on speaker phone from high-profile friends and clients, including then-President Trump”.

Giuliani is alleged to have told Dunphy “he enjoyed engaging in this conduct while on the telephone because it made him ‘feel like Bill Clinton’”.

Clinton was impeached in 1998 for lying about an affair while he was president, with Monica Lewinsky, then a White House intern.

The lawsuit also included an allegation that Giuliani asked Dunphy “if she knew anyone in need of a pardon” because “he was selling pardons for $2m, which he and President Trump would split”.

The complaint added that he told Dunphy she could refer people seeking pardons to him as long as she avoided “the normal channels” of going through the office of the pardon attorney, a role within the Department of Justice, which could be subject to public disclosure.

On Monday, in a statement to the New York Daily News, a Giuliani representative said the former mayor “vehemently and completely denies the allegations in the complaint and plans to thoroughly defend against these allegations. This is pure harassment and an attempt at extortion.”

Giuliani was already in extensive legal jeopardy. His work in Ukraine seeking dirt on Trump’s rivals led to Trump’s first impeachment. His leading role in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election contributed to Trump being impeached an unprecedented second time.

With his law licenses already suspended, Giuliani is reported to be at risk of criminal indictment.

In her 70-page lawsuit, Dunphy says Giuliani hired her in January 2019.

At that time, the suit says, Giuliani was “at the height of his influence, serving as the personal lawyer” for Trump, having “fashioned himself publicly as a major player in American politics, a successful businessman, and an important powerbroker”.

The suit says Giuliani offered Dunphy $1m a year plus expenses to be his director of business development, also offering to represent her for free in a dispute with an abusive ex-partner.

Giuliani is alleged to have deferred paying Dunphy, citing his acrimonious divorce from Judith Giuliani, his third wife. But he allegedly was swift to demand sex.

“As Giuliani later admitted in a recorded statement,” the suit says, “he ‘wanted [Dunphy] from the day [he] interviewed [her]’.”

The suit contains remarks it says were recorded.

Giuliani, the filing says, “began abusing Ms Dunphy almost immediately after she started working”, making clear “that satisfying his sexual demands … virtually anytime, anywhere … was an absolute requirement”.

The document is filled with lurid allegations. Giuliani, it says, often demanded that Dunphy “work naked, in a bikini, or in short shorts with an American flag on them that he bought for her.

“When they were apart, they would often work remotely via videoconference, and … Giuliani almost always asked her to remove her clothes on camera. He often called from his bed, where he was visibly touching himself under a white sheet.”

That allegation echoes a famous scene from a 2020 film, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, in which Giuliani appears to reach into his trousers and touch himself while on a bed, in the company of a young female actor he thinks is a reporter from Kazakhstan.

Describing what Dunphy says happened the first time Giuliani initiated sexual contact, the suit includes a still from the Borat film. Dunphy alleges Giuliani coerced her into oral sex.

The suit also says Dunphy had access to Giuliani’s private emails, including messages “from, to, or concerning President Trump, the Trump family (including … Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump) [and] Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner”.

Dunphy also claims to have had access to communications with “presidential candidates for Ukraine [and] President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey”.

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