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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Giuliani Visits Mistress

Q: Did Giuliani break the law using city funds while visiting his mistress?

A: No. Reporters who broke the story didn’t suggest he acted illegally.                     


It is said that ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani used city funds and personnel to facilitate a relationship with a woman other than his wife and further, charged these costs to unusual city accounts in an effort to hide them. If he did these things, did he break any laws? If he broke any law, why isn’t he being prosecuted?


So far as we know, nobody has accused Rudy Giuliani of breaking any law by visiting his future wife, Judith Nathan, in the Hamptons while still being married to another woman. Nor has he been accused of misusing city funds while doing so.

The story that broke on Nov. 28, 2007, on the Politico.com Web site didn’t allege any illegality. Rather, it suggested that an odd billing arrangement might have been intended to keep the mayor’s affair secret.

The Politico story said previously undisclosed documents, which the reporter obtained under New York state’s Freedom of Information Law, showed that the expenses of Giuliani’s security detail had at first been billed "to the accounts of obscure mayoral offices." These included one agency responsible for aiding the disabled and another responsible for providing lawyers for indigent defendants. The story said: "New York’s mayor receives round-the-clock police protection, and there’s no suggestion that Giuliani used his detail improperly on these trips."

Giuliani stated he had nothing to do with how his security expenses were billed, and his spokesman said that the New York City Police Department eventually reimbursed each agency for the security expenses.

If the odd billing arrangements were intended to keep the affair secret, that only worked for a while. The earliest expenses billed in this way were around Labor Day in 1999. But less than a year later, in May 2000, the affair became the city’s worst-kept secret. Leering headlines in the New York Post announced that "Rudy’s Mystery Brunch Pal Is Upper East Side Divorcee" (May 3) and "Rudy’s Gal ‘Pal’ Never Far Behind – Judith Is A Steady Companion At Events" (May 5). A few days after the story broke the mayor announced that he would seek a separation from his wife of 16 years, Donna Hanover. He said at that time that he would "more now than maybe I did before" turn to Nathan, whom he described as his "very good friend."

Later Hanover sued for divorce, alleging "open and notorious adultery," and walked away in July 2002 with a settlement reported to cost the mayor $6.8 million. He married Nathan in May 2003. She is his third wife. Giuliani was first married for 14 years to a second cousin, Regina Peruggi; that match was annulled by the Roman Catholic Church.

— Brooks Jackson


Smith, Ben. "Giuliani billed obscure agencies for trips." Politico.com, 28 Nov. 2007.

Johnson, Richard and Linda Massarella. "Rudy’s Mystery Brunch Pal is Upper East Side Divorcee." New York Post, 3 May 2000.

Massarella, Linda; Adam Miller and Stacy Albin. "Rudy’s Gal ‘Pal’ Never Far Behind – Judith Is A Steady Companion At Events." New York Post, 5 May 2007.

Bumiller, Elisabeth. "The Mayor’s Separation: The Overview; Giuliani and His Wife of 16 Years Are Separating." New York Times, 11 May 2000.

Rashbaum, William K. and Russ Buettner. "Giuliani Defends Spending On His Mayoral Security." New York Times, 30 Nov. 2007.

The Associated Press. "Giuliani Accused Of ‘Notorious Adultery’; Estranged Wife Sues Ex-N.Y. Mayor For Divorce," 11 June 2002.

Wadler, Joyce. "Giuliani Marriage Ends With $6.8 Million Deal." New York Times, 11 July 2002.

BBC News. "Giuliani marries for third time," 25 May 2003.