Rudy Giuliani suspended by New York radio station over 2020 election lies | Rudy Giuliani

The former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani’s troubles deepened on Friday when he was suspended by WABC radio, for trying to use his show to discuss the lie that the 2020 presidential election was lost by Donald Trump because of electoral fraud.

John Catsimatidis, a New York billionaire, Republican donor and owner of WABC, told the New York Times: “We’re not going to talk about fallacies of the November 2020 election. We warned him once. We warned him twice. And I get a text from him last night, and I get a text from him this morning that he refuses not to talk about it.

“So he left me no option. I suspended him.”

Giuliani said he had been fired.

In a lengthy statement, the former mayor said: “I’m learning from a leak to the New York Times that I’m being fired by John Catsimatidis and WABC because I refused to comply with their overly broad directive stating, word-for-word, that I’m ‘prohibited from engaging in conversations relating to the 2020 presidential election’.”

A copy of a letter from Catsimatidis to Giuliani, dated 9 May and obtained by the Guardian, said Giuliani was “prohibited from engaging in conversations relating to the 2020 presidential election on your programs broadcast on WABC … and otherwise in your capacity as an agent of the station.

“These specific topics include, but are not limited to, the legitimacy of the election results, allegations of fraud effectuated by election workers, and your personal lawsuits relating to those allegations.”

Claiming “a clear violation of free speech”, Giuliani said he would address the situation further on social media on Friday night.

But he went on to say the move by WABC came “at a very suspicious time, just months before the 2024 election, and just as John and WABC continue to be pressured by Dominion Voting Systems and the Biden regime’s lawyers”.

Dominion Voting Systems, a manufacturer of elections machines, reached a $787.5m settlement with Fox News over its broadcast of election fraud lies. It also sued Giuliani and Sidney Powell, another lawyer who worked on Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Now 79, Giuliani was a hard-charging New York prosecutor before becoming mayor and serving from 1993 to 2001, emerging as a national figure after leading the city through the 9/11 terror attacks. He ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Long close to Trump, who reportedly helped him through a personal crisis after the failed presidential run, Giuliani emerged as a steadfast supporter when Trump won the White House in 2016.

Giuliani did not win the prize of being made secretary of state, but he worked on Trump’s behalf in matters including the attempt to extract political dirt from Ukraine, which prompted Trump’s first impeachment.

In 2020, Giuliani worked to try to overturn Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump at the polls, only to suffer a series of courtroom defeats and mounting public embarrassments.

Giuliani denies wrongdoing but his efforts on Trump’s behalf have produced legal disbarment proceedings; criminal charges in two swing states, Georgia and Arizona; and defeat in a defamation suit that left him owing $148m to two Georgia poll workers he claimed had been involved in electoral fraud.

Giuliani filed for bankruptcy in New York last December. Filings showed debts up to $500m.

Earlier this week, a legal filing on Giuliani’s behalf said no accountants “seem[ed] interested” in working with him to meet requirements in the bankruptcy case.

His spokesperson, Ted Goodman, said then: “While it is true that the permanent Washington political class is leveraging all of its power and influence to bully and scare people from defending Americans who are willing to stand up and push back against the accepted narrative, Mayor Giuliani will be appropriately represented when it comes to his accounting and finances.”

The filing on Tuesday said the former mayor, who made millions in consulting work after leaving office in 2001, “currently received social security benefits and broadcasts a radio show and podcast”.

“These are his sole sources of income,” it said.

Catsimatidis told the Times that at the close of his WABC show on Thursday, Giuliani tried to speak about the 2020 election but was cut off by station employees.

“Look, I like the guy as a person, but you can’t do that,” Catsimatidis told the paper. “You can’t cross the line. My view is that nobody really knows [about the 2020 result] but we had made a company policy. It’s over, life goes on.”

In his statement, Giuliani accused Catsimatidis of “telling reporters I was informed ahead of time of these restrictions, which is demonstrably untrue.

“How can you possibly believe that when I’ve been regularly commenting on the 2020 election for three and a half years, and I’ve talked about the case in Georgia incessantly ever since the verdict in December. Other WABC hosts and newscasters questioned me on these topics.

“Obviously I was never informed on such a policy, and even if there was one, it was violated so often that it couldn’t be taken seriously.”

In his letter to Giuliani, Catsimatidis said: “WABC stands for honesty and integrity. You have already signed documents as part of your court proceedings, conceding that the statements you made regarding the election in Georgia were defamatory per se.

“You are now once again stating that there was fraud. You may not do so on our airwaves. This is a clear condition of your continued relationship with WABC. We do not condone these actions, and do not want to be subject to the ramifications of your conduct under any circumstances.”

Catsimatidis concluded: “I have asked you to join me for lunch or dinner next week and you have refused.”

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