Rudy Giuliani, who has helped oversee a string of failed court challenges to President Donald Trump’s defeat in the election, asked the president’s campaign to pay him $20,000 a day for his legal work, multiple people briefed on the matter said.
The request stirred opposition from some of Trump’s aides and advisers, who appear to have ruled out paying that much, and it is unclear how much Giuliani will ultimately be compensated.
Since Giuliani took over management of the legal effort, Trump has suffered a series of defeats in court, and lawyers handling some of the remaining cases have dropped out.
A $20,000-a-day rate would have made Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has been Trump’s personal lawyer for several years, among the most highly compensated lawyers anywhere.
Reached by phone, Giuliani strenuously denied requesting that much.
“I never asked for $20,000,” said Giuliani, saying the president volunteered to make sure he was paid after the cases concluded. “The arrangement is, we’ll work it out at the end.”
He added that whoever had said he made the $20,000-a-day request “is a liar, a complete liar.”
There is little to no prospect of any of the remaining legal cases being overseen by Giuliani altering the outcome in any of the states where Trump is still fighting in court, much less of overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College and popular vote victory. Some Trump allies fear that Giuliani is encouraging the president to continue a spurious legal fight because he sees financial advantage for himself in it.
The Trump campaign has set up a legal-defense fund and is said to be raising significant sums to continue legal challenges in places like Pennsylvania and Georgia.
A Trump campaign spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
Giuliani had sought compensation for his work dating back to the day after Election Day, when Trump began publicly claiming that he won despite the results, according to people familiar with the request, who asked for anonymity to speak about sensitive discussions.
At $20,000 a day, Giuliani’s rate would be above the top-of-the-line lawyers in Washington and New York who can charge as much as $15,000 a day if they are spending all their time working for a client.
Trump’s insistence that widespread voter fraud cost him the election has no basis in fact but has stoked skepticism about the outcome among his base, including some who violently protested this past weekend in Washington.
Giuliani has encouraged Trump to believe a number of conspiracy theories about voting machine irregularities, according to multiple people close to the president who were not authorized to discuss the conversations publicly. Late last week, Giuliani repeatedly insisted to the president that his other advisers have not been telling him the truth about his chances of success in his legal battles to overturn the results of the election.
Friday, as Trump’s legal fight in Arizona appeared to peter out when the campaign dropped a lawsuit in Maricopa County that was destined to fail, the president put Giuliani in charge of all election-related litigation and communications for it.
On Monday, day before a key hearing on a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania, Giuliani forced out a lawyer who had been leading the case, two people briefed on the events said. That left Trump’s team scrambling for a replacement. The local lawyer now handling the case has referred to Biden as the winner of the election and has said the lawsuits will not change that outcome.
The judge in the case declined Monday night to postpone the hearing despite a request from the Trump team.
On Tuesday, Giuliani made the opening argument in the Pennsylvania hearing, largely sidestepping whether there was evidence that voting or vote counting in the state had been compromised. Instead, he repeated baseless claims of “widespread nationwide voter fraud.”
While the hearing was taking place, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed the Trump legal team another defeat, ruling that a lower court should not have agreed to give greater access to Republican monitors at the main vote counting site in Philadelphia.