As longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani deals with the fallout from a Wednesday search of his Manhattan apartment and office by federal authorities, his attorney Bob Costello has revealed that Giuliani’s longtime assistant Jo Ann Zafonte has been served with a subpoena demanding testimony before a grand jury as part of the underlying criminal investigation. Zafonte’s testimony is slated for “next month,” as ABC summarized it.
MORE – Giuliani's attorney tells @ABC federal agents seized devices including a computer belonging to Giuliani's longtime assistant Joann Zafonte. Bob Costello tells me Zafonte was served with a subpoena to appear before a federal grand jury next month. https://t.co/FLj6lQC9hu
— John Santucci (@Santucci) April 28, 2021
Giuliani has been under investigation by federal authorities over his overseas connections. In short, authorities have suspected that he covertly lobbied then-President Trump on behalf of foreign interests. Giuliani successfully helped pressure Trump to fire Marie Yovanovitch from her role as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and Giuliani may have been involved with overseas interests in Ukraine who wanted Yovanovitch out and had Giuliani ferrying their wishes to Trump.
According to Costello, federal authorities seized material at Giuliani’s office on Wednesday including a computer that belongs to Zafonte. She was involved with Giuliani’s effort to get dirt on the Bidens out of Ukraine, which unfolded around the same time as the successful pressure campaign against then-Ambassador Yovanovitch and drove the first impeachment proceedings against Trump. The then-president was impeached on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for a scheme involving an attempt by him and his allies including Giuliani to bribe Ukraine into investigating the Bidens on trumped up — and ultimately baseless — allegations of corruption.
At one point, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Zafonte helped Giuliani connect with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In March 2019, Zafonte requested contact info for Pompeo from then-Trump assistant Madeline Westerhout, and Westerhout got in touch with a then-State Department official who provided information for the department’s scheduler. Giuliani spoke with Pompeo a couple days after Zafonte’s initial outreach to Westerhout, at which time he apparently shared his “concerns” about then-Ambassador Yovanovitch, as the Journal put it. Giuliani submitted nine pages of material recapping his “concerns” to Pompeo, who later said that he’d given the document to the inspector general overseeing the State Department.
Giuliani and Zafonte’s outreach to Pompeo and others in the Trump orbit could have been a part of the potential illegal lobbying on behalf of foreign interests that is the subject of the ongoing criminal investigation. On Wednesday, besides their raids on Giuliani’s apartment and office, authorities also seized a cellphone belonging to ex-Trump lawyer Victoria Toensing, who Trump once named as a member of his legal team to fight the presidential election outcome and who has operated in tandem with Trump allies like Giuliani for awhile. Toensing’s law firm, diGenova & Toensing, claimed that she “was informed that she is not a target of the investigation.”