FORT LAUDERDALE — Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s new lawyer, surprised hundreds of attorneys, staff, defendants and judges at the Fort Lauderdale courthouse Friday afternoon when he appeared as the lawyer of a young woman accused of insurance fraud.
In an exclusive interview with dailymail.com, Giuliani said his appearance before Broward County Criminal Court Judge Barbara McCarthy was as much as a character witness as her representative.
And the case, he emphasized, has nothing to do with his main day job representing Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of collusion with Russia.
“I came to show the court she is just a young woman who made a mistake,” Giuliani said by telephone after his appearance. “Like a character witness if you wish. She works for me and I’m in the best position to show she should be given a break in this instance.
“This has nothing to do with the president.
“I’m still working a few cases, three to be precise, and I’m taking care of them so that I can focus on the president 100 percent of the time.”
Giuliani, the mayor of New York City when terrorists struck the city Sept. 9, 2011, is representing 32-year-old Vanessa Ryan, his personal assistant.
According to court records, Ryan turned herself in to authorities in December 2017 after she found out a warrant had been issued for her arrest.
The warrant was the result of an investigation by Florida state insurance fraud sleuths on a complaint by Progressive Insurance.
According to arrest records, Ryan’s car insurance lapsed May 10, 2016 because she failed to renew it.
Eight days later, however, Ryan was involved in a minor car accident near Fort Lauderdale.
She later admitted to calling Progressive from the scene of the crash and renewing her insurance without telling the company she had just been into an accident.
She filed a claim the next day, triggering a fraud alert at Progressive.
Charged with two felony counts with a possible sentence of more than a year in prison, Ryan pleaded not guilty.
Last week, Giuliani filed a motion for permission to represent Ryan since he is not a member of the Florida Bar. His motion was accepted and today’s appearance at a five-minute status conference, where we was flanked by Ryan, was his first in the case.
“Vanessa has been working for me as an assistant for several months and she’s terrific,” Giuliani said. “I’ve also known her whole family. Her mother is a doctor I’ve known for years and her dad was a great Marine. This is the least I can do.
“A youngster like her doesn’t want a felony on her record. So we’re working on a deal to make sure she is not adjudicated guilty.”
Another hearing has been scheduled for July 9.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Gottlieb, who was waiting his turn before the judge when America’s Mayor walked in, said Giuliani was escorted into the courtroom by 10 Broward County Sheriff’s deputies.
“I understand he needs security, but everybody at the courthouse noticed him,” Gottlieb said. “What was weird is that it was a nothing hearing, a ‘hey, I’m here judge, how are you?’ five-minute hearing.
“I’m not sure the president’s lawyer should be doing this.”
Trump hired Giuliani, 73, in April to join the White House’s legal team assigned to dealing with Mueller’s investigation.
A former U.S. Attorney in New York City credited with taking down the mob, Giuliani’s matter-of-fact but efficient response to 9-11 made him one of the country’s most admired politicians. He was unsuccessful in a run for president in 2008.
During Trump campaign, Giuliani became one of the businessman’s more credible TV surrogates. He hoped to become Trump’s secretary of state but that job went to former Exxon executive Rex Tillerson, who recently was replaced by former CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Since Giuliani’s return to Trump inner circle, however, he has made several highly-controversial TV appearances that contradicted the president on hush payments to porn star and alleged Trump paramour Stormy Daniels.
This article first appeared in The Daily Mail Online.