No one close to Mr. Giuliani, 79, has suggested that drinking could excuse or explain away his present legal and personal disrepair. He arrived for a mug shot in Georgia in August not over rowdy nightlife behavior or reckless cable interviews but for allegedly abusing the laws he defended aggressively as a federal prosecutor, subverting the democracy of a nation that once lionized him.
Yet to almost anyone in proximity, friends say, Mr. Giuliani’s drinking has been the pulsing drumbeat punctuating his descent — not the cause of his reputational collapse but the ubiquitous evidence, well before Election Day in 2020, that something was not right with the former president’s most incautious lieutenant.
Now, prosecutors in the federal election case against Mr. Trump have shown an interest in the drinking habits of Mr. Giuliani — and whether the former president ignored what his aides described as the plain inebriation of the former mayor referred to in court documents as “Co-Conspirator 1.”
Their entwined legal peril has turned a matter long whispered about by former City Hall aides, White House advisers and political socialites into an investigative subplot in an unprecedented case.
The office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, has questioned witnesses about Mr. Giuliani’s alcohol consumption as he was advising Mr. Trump, including on election night, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Smith’s investigators have also asked about Mr. Trump’s level of awareness of his lawyer’s drinking as they worked to overturn the election and prevent Joseph R. Biden Jr. from being certified as the 2020 winner at almost any cost. (A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.)
The answers to those prompts could complicate any efforts by Mr. Trump’s team to lean on a so-called advice-of-counsel defense, a strategy that could portray him as a client merely taking professional cues from his lawyers. If such guidance came from someone whom Mr. Trump knew to be compromised by alcohol, especially when many others told Mr. Trump definitively that he had lost, his argument could weaken. [Continue reading…]