ALBANY — A Mineola-based attorney provided $500,000 in 2018 for a venture that brought together Rudolph Giuliani and a Ukrainian-born businessman Giuliani enlisted to collect information in Ukraine that could damage Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden, according to The New York Times.
The lawyer, Charles Gucciardo, of Massapequa, is a longtime donor to Republican campaigns and a strong supporter of Trump who runs his own personal injury law firm.
On Thursday, Gucciardo’s attorney said Gucciardo simply was investing in a cybersecurity company for which Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, would be the public face.
The Times reported that Gucciardo, 62, provided the $500,000 as part of a deal in which he would become an investor in a company started by Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas. The company, Fraud Guarantee, was supposed to provide insurance to investors against fraud.
In subsequent months, Giuliani and Parnas would be involved in efforts to pressure Ukraine to mount an investigation aimed at damaging Biden, a former vice president and a front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump.
Congressional Democrats say the pressure campaign involved a quid pro quo in which Trump would release U.S. military aid if the Ukrainian government investigated Biden. Trump denies there was any quid pro quo.
Parnas was arrested in October with a Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman. Federal prosecutors have accused them of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws.
Gucciardo’s lawyer, Randy Zelin of Manhattan, told Newsday Thursday that Gucciardo’s “investment had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with Mr. Giuliani’s reputation and experience in cybersecurity and protecting the public.”
Zelin described Gucciardo as a “passive investor” in the company. Gucciardo “invested because he believed that Mr. Giuliani — the former Mayor of New York City, former United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and, the first name in cybersecurity — was in front of, behind, and alongside the company, which would catapult the company into the world of cybersecurity and investor protection,” Zelin said.
Federal Election Commission records show Gucciardo in June 2018 contributed $50,000 to America First Action, a political action committee that works to help Trump.
In October, news media reports said America First Action received $325,000 from a company that federal prosecutors say Parnas and Fruman used to conceal their identities.
Since 2013, Gucciardo’s law firm has contributed $8,400 to election campaigns on Long Island and to the Nassau County Republican Committee, according to state Board of Elections records.
In 2010, Gucciardo contributed $25,000 to Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo's campaign for New York governor.
Gucciardo’s firm, The Gucciardo Law Firm, has sued hospitals, physicians, schools, governments, companies and other entities in personal injury cases, primarily on Long Island. The law firm’s website notes more than two dozen cases in which defendants paid out millions of dollars to Gucciardo clients.