Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Did Giuliani lie about being involved with the Leon Klinghoffer murder investigation?

Yes, it looks like he did in a speech to bubbes and zaydes in Florida. According to Wayne Barrett in the Village Voice ("Rudy's Five Big Lies About 9/11"):

"As United States Attorney, I investigated the Leon Klinghoffer murder by Yasir Arafat," he told the Jewish audience, referring to the infamous 1985 slaying of a wheelchair-bound, 69-year-old New York businessman aboard the Achille Lauro, an Italian ship hijacked off the coast of Egypt by Palestinian extremists. "It's honestly the reason why I knew so much about Arafat," says Giuliani. "I knew, in detail, the Americans he murdered. I went over their cases."

On the contrary, Victoria Toensing, the deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department in Washington who filed a criminal complaint in the Lauro investigation, says that no one in Giuliani's office "was involved at all." Jay Fischer, the Klinghoffer family attorney who spearheaded a 12-year lawsuit against the PLO, says he "never had any contact" with Giuliani or his office. "It would boggle my mind if anyone in 1985, 1986, 1987, or thereafter conducted an investigation of this case and didn't call me," he adds. Fischer says he did have a private dinner with Giuliani in 1992: "It was the first time we talked, and we didn't even talk about the Klinghoffer case then."

The dinner was arranged by Arnold Burns, a close friend of Fischer and Giuliani who also represented the Klinghoffer family. Burns, who was also the finance chair of Giuliani's mayoral campaign, was the deputy U.S. attorney general in 1985 and oversaw the probe. "I know of nothing Rudy did in any shape or form on the Klinghoffer case," he says.

Well...he can defend himself by parsing his statement as not referring to THE investigation, just AN investigation. The fact that his investigation may have involved reading the files prepared by the REAL investigators may lead a skeptical mind to believe that Giuliani is attempting to deceive voters by overstating his role. Hard to believe that he would stoop to that level, but it looks like he did.

Giuliani owes those Jewish grandparents, and more importantly the Klinghoffer family, an apology.

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