In May of 1985, when Rudy Giuliani offered me a position as one of his assistants in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, I was thrilled. It was the premier federal prosecutors’ office in the country, and even then Rudy’s fame preceded him. As a young assistant U.S. Attorney (“AUSA”) in the same office years before, he had made headlines, prosecuting corrupt NYPD narcotics officers in what would become known as the “Prince of the City” cases and had secured the conviction of Bertram Podell, a Brooklyn congressman, on bribery charges. Podell had been so flustered by Rudy’s aggressive cross-examination of him at trial, that he asked for a recess at the end of which he pleaded guilty. And so the legend of Rudy grew…….
I remember well my first day as an AUSA. I was instructed to arrive at 9 a.m. sharp and to bring whomever I wished with me to meet with Rudy in his private office prior to his swearing me in. I brought my beaming parents. Old Brooklynites, they listened eagerly as Rudy regaled them with the story of the Podell prosecution and then gave them what I later learned was one of his stock speeches concerning the proliferation of, and the need to aggressively investigate and prosecute, white collar crime. There is enough fraud going on on Wall Street, said Rudy, that if all of my assistants devoted all of their time to it, it might not even make a dent. But, he said, we have to try. And we have to use the same tools we’ve been using on the mob and drug king-pins—undercover operatives, wiretaps, and search warrants—on white collar crooks. It was high time, he said, to take the gloves off when it came to fighting “crime in the suites.”
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