The further adventures of Rudy Giuliani, heroic truth teller

In an Op-Ed, Giuliani's predecessor as U.S. attorney says Giuliani is overstating his accomplishments. Again.

By Alex Koppelman

Published December 17, 2007 7:30PM (EST)

Rudy Giuliani has a problem. Seems he's just so awesome (in the literally awe-inspiring sense) that he sometimes has trouble keeping track of just how amazing he is, and which of his accomplishments are actually, well, his.

It's a problem we sympathize with, but some pesky people just won't stop nitpicking. There's stalwart Rudy obsessive and muckraking journalist Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice, who published a list of "Rudy's Five Big Lies About 9/11" back in August. And there's the New York Times' Michael Cooper, who last month documented a long list of statistical misstatements from Giuliani and his campaign. On Monday, another name got added to the list: John S. Martin Jr., Giuliani's predecessor as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Before Giuliani had 9/11 as a defining personal story to sell to voters, his reputation as a hard-nosed, hard-charging U.S. attorney was what he relied on and what helped get him elected as mayor of New York City. He has been leaning back on that reputation during the current presidential campaign; but apparently, he's been leaning too hard for Martin, who struck back in an Op-Ed for the New York Times.

"Mr. Giuliani's claim to have turned around the Manhattan United States attorney's office is not only untrue, it is an insult to the outstanding men and women who have served in that office over the last 50 years," Martin writes. "To Mr. Giuliani's credit he made no major changes in the staff or leadership group he inherited ... This is not to say that Mr. Giuliani was not a good trial lawyer and that he did not provide effective leadership. But the important cases prosecuted during his tenure did not result from some unique initiative or insight on his part.

"Mr. Giuliani claims that he came up with the idea of prosecuting the leaders of each of the major crime families in a single case under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. While that may be his perception, the idea was first broached by the head of the criminal section of the F.B.I.'s New York office in a meeting with me and my staff approximately a year before Mr. Giuliani took office ... There is no question that Mr. Giuliani is an able lawyer. It is unfortunate, however, that he feels he must denigrate the accomplishments of others to advance his own political interests ... Mr. Giuliani did not have to turn the prosecutor's office around; he simply had to keep it moving forward."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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