Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and personal attorney to Donald Trump, has been hit by a $10m sexual assault and harassment lawsuit from a former aide who worked for him between 2019 and 2021.
Hailed as “America’s mayor” for his leadership of the Big Apple in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, Mr Giuliani, 78, subsequently attempted to parlay his popularity into an aborted presidential run but has since seen his reputation sullied by his support for Mr Trump’s bogus election fraud narrative.
Leading the hopeless fight to argue that the 2020 presidential vote had been stolen from the 45th president by a vast Democratic conspiracy, Mr Giuliani suffered countless self-inflicted indignities, losing multiple legal challenges, giving statements as dark hair dye streamed down his face and even hosting a press conference in the car park of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping garden centre in Holmesburg, Philadelphia, having seemingly booked the venue in error instead of the similarly-named luxury hotel.
Now, in a civil complaint filed with the Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday, Mr Giuliani’s ex-employee Noelle Dunphy, 43, alleges that he began sexually abusing her almost immediately after hiring her as an off-the-books business development director and public relations consultant in January 2019, thereafter routinely pestering her for sex, drinking to excess, withholding her salary, bragging about being able to sell presidential pardons for $2 million apiece and engaging in alcohol-fuelled racist rants.
Ted Goodman, a spokesperson for Mr Giuliani, told The Independent that his employer “unequivocally denies the allegations raised by Ms Dunphy”.
He added: “Mayor Giuliani’s lifetime of public service speaks for itself and he will pursue all available remedies and counterclaims.”
In Monday’s 70-page complaint, Ms Dunphy describes first meeting Mr Giuliani in the lobby of Trump Tower in September 2016, where he engaged her in conversation and asked whether she would be interested in working for him. She declined, but he reached out to her on Facebook again in January 2019, whereupon she agreed to an interview at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, and was swiftly hired.
Ms Dunphy alleges that Mr Giuliani promised to pay her $1m a year and provide pro bono legal representation but that payment of the money would have to be deferred as he was going through a divorce with his “crazy” ex-wife Judith.
She now claims that the offer proved to be no more than “a sham motivated by his secret desire to pursue a sexual relationship” with her and that he only ever gave her £12,000 in small cash payments, leaving her in financial difficulty, and still owes her the remaining $1,988,000.
Ms Dunphy alleges that Mr Giuliani “made clear that satisfying his sexual demands – which came virtually anytime, anywhere – was an absolute requirement of her employment” and began pursuing her almost immediately once she began work, kissing her in the back of an SUV on her first day and urging her to send “some flirtatious photos”, leaving her “stunned and shaken”.
During her first week, she alleges that Mr Giuliani invited her back to his Upper East Side apartment and then “then pulled her head onto his penis, without asking for or obtaining any form of consent. He held her by her hair. It became clear to Ms Dunphy that there was no way out of giving him oral sex. She did so, against her will.”
The lawsuit alleges that on 25 February 2019: “He eventually forced her into having sexual intercourse with him. She never consented to intercourse, but she eventually stopped resisting because it was clear that he would not stop pressuring her.”
Thereafter, Ms Dunphy claims, Mr Giuliani subsequently “forced [her] to perform oral sex on him” throughout their working relationship, much of which took place in his home rather than at an office “so that he could easily transition from work, to demanding sexual gratification, and back to work”.
The requests for oral sex included during phone calls with important associates.
The lawsuit states: “He often demanded oral sex while he took phone calls on speakerphone from high-profile friends and clients, including then-President Trump. Giuliani told Ms Dunphy that he enjoyed engaging in this conduct while on the telephone because it made him ‘feel like Bill Clinton.’”
He also allegedly demanded, at times, that Ms Dunphy work in the nude, in a bikini or a pair of “short shorts with an American flag on them”, which he provided for her.
When the couple were apart, the lawsuit alleges: “They would often work remotely via videoconference, and during those conferences Giuliani almost always asked her to remove her clothes on camera. He often called from his bed, where he was visibly touching himself under a white sheet.”
Ms Dunphy describes meeting Mr Trump in person at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida on 9 March 2019, an encounter she says was “fairly brief, since Giuliani expressed to [her] that he was concerned that Trump might try to poach her away from working for [him]”.
This proved to be the beginning of a more controlling stage of their relationship, Ms Dunphy alleges, which included Mr Giuliani buying her a new battery pack for her phone so it would never be without charge, buying her clothes and refusing to let her speak to others.
“I’m Italian, remember? I’m extremely jealous and possessive,” she claims he told her at the time, one of many statements included in the filing that were recorded on Ms Dunphy’s phone with Mr Giuliani’s approval and authorisation.
The filing recounts further examples of Mr Giuliani harassing Ms Dunphy for sexual favours, insulting her and “calling her obsessively” – including 53 times on 13 February 2019 – and says he “drank morning, noon, and night” and took Viagra “constantly” at one point pointing to his erection and telling her that he would not be able to get any work done until “you take care of this”.
She also accuses him of becoming increasingly more verbally abusive, calling her a “c***”, a “bitch” and “Rudy’s slut”, also referring to her “as his ‘daughter’ in the context of sexual activity”, which made her “extremely uncomfortable”.
Ms Duphy’s lawsuit further details an interaction she allegedly had with Mr Giuliani on or around 16 February 2019, when he was serving as Mr Trump’s personal attorney and was attempting to dig up overseas dirt on then-former vice president Joe Biden, who was, at the time, still two months away from entering the 2020 presidential race against Mr Trump.
She writes that as they reviewed emails between him and Ukrainian government officials, she asked if he had to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and offered to do the required paperwork for him.
Mr Giuliani replied that he was allowed to violate FARA and other US laws because he had “immunity”.
She then states that Mr Giuliani asked her “if she knew anyone in need of a pardon” because he was “selling pardons for $2 million, which he and President Trump would split”.
“He told Ms Dunphy that she could refer individuals seeking pardons to him, so long as they did not go through ‘the normal channels’ of the Office of the Pardon Attorney because correspondence going to that office would be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act,” she added.
Finally, the lawsuit accuses Mr Giuliani of launching into “alcohol-drenched rants that included sexist, racist, and antisemitic remarks, which made the work environment unbearable”, including derogatory and sexualised remarks about public figures including politicians Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren and Hollywood actor Matt Damon.
Mr Giuliani abruptly fired Ms Dunphy in January 2021 without paying her deferred salary, after she expressed fear of him in response to his role in the Capitol riot, Mr Giuliani having addressed the mob who invaded the legislative complex moments before the violence broke out and urged its participants to engage in “trial by combat”.
“I feel scared of you, and I don’t want you trying to hurt me,” she says she told him. “Now the country has just gone through chaos, and I pray I never see something like that again.”
The complaint’s introduction concludes: “Giuliani presented himself as a generous employer and a hero... He was neither of those things. Giuliani assaulted and harassed Ms Dunphy, forced her to work in a deplorable work environment, in secret, and robbed her of the pay she is owed.
“Through this case, Ms Dunphy seeks a measure of justice from a man who thought his power and connections rendered him untouchable.”