(CNN) — Accompanied by his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani traveled to Mar-a-Lago in recent months to make a desperate, personal appeal to former US President Donald Trump to pay his legal fees. By going in person, a source familiar with the matter told CNN, Giuliani and his lawyer, Robert Costello, hope to be able to explain face-to-face why Trump needs his former lawyer to help with his mounting legal bills.
Giuliani and Costello traveled to Florida in late April, where they held two meetings with Trump to discuss Giuliani’s seven-figure legal fees.
But the former president, who takes a heavy revenge on dipping into his own coffers, isn’t so keen. After Costello made his presentation, Trump verbally agreed to help with some of Giuliani’s bills without committing to any specific amount or schedule.
Trump agreed to stop two fundraisers for Giuliani, another source said.
Another source told CNN that Trump agreed to cover only a small fee from the data provider providing Giuliani’s records. A few months later, Trump’s Save America PAC paid that provider $340,000, TrustPoint, federal campaign files show. CNN has confirmed that the payment was made to settle Giuliani’s outstanding invoices with the company.
Another Giuliani lawyer cited the payment in court Wednesday, telling a New York state judge at a hearing that he doesn’t have the money to pay additional legal costs to provide records in a defamation lawsuit filed against the former New York mayor by a voting technology company. Wise, indicates financial hardship.
The attorney also noted Trump’s one-time PAC Save America payment, and a source confirmed that Giuliani received no additional money. (Giuliani has a brilliant case against Fox News and other right-wing networks about the lies he spread in the 2020 election.)
Giuliani’s previously unannounced trip to Mar-a-Lago indicates the level of financial pressure he has been facing for months as his legal troubles continue to mount.
But what surprised members of Trump’s inner circle was that the former president did not want to pass Giuliani’s bills because Giuliani could come under intense pressure to cooperate with federal and state prosecutors who have indicted Trump. Giuliani voluntarily met with special counsel Jack Smith’s investigators this summer, and the Fulton County district attorney indicted him in Georgia this week.
It’s not a good idea for Trump to refuse to pay Giuliani’s legal fees, a person familiar with the situation told CNN, citing how Trump’s relationship with Michael Cohen soured while being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller.
CNN reported Tuesday that Giuliani faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills and legal penalties amid numerous lawsuits tied to his false claims that the 2020 election was rigged.
His lawyers told the court that the legal quagmire has left him cash-strapped and that he “cannot afford” a $15,000 to $23,000 bill to pay for further document searches related to the investigations. He appears to have responded to some cash crunch by listing a three-bedroom Manhattan apartment for $6.5 million.
At Wednesday’s court hearing in the Smartmatic case, Giuliani’s lawyer, Adam Katz, said: “These are a lot of bills that you haven’t paid. I think it’s very humiliating for Mr. Giuliani.”
Georgia’s charges against Giuliani (13 in total) include violating the state’s fraud statute, soliciting a public official to violate his oath, conspiracy to commit fraud and making false statements.
He said in post-indictment interviews that the charges were an “assault on American democracy” that would cause “irreparable damage to our justice system.”
— CNN’s Katelyn Polantz, Tierney Sneed, Jeremy Herb and Marshall Cohen contributed to this story.
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