It’s been almost a year since Judith Giuliani filed for divorce from former mayor and current presidential legal spokesman Rudy Giuliani, and the story that’s developed in those months has not been a pretty one for hizzoner. As new revelations of infidelity and increasingly strange television appearances have left the public wondering what, exactly, is up with Rudy Giuliani, the divorce itself has plodded along at an agonizingly slow pace. March provided reporters with yet another chance to view them in a courtroom, but in a relatively explosive hearing in front of Supreme Court Justice Michael Katz in Manhattan, Giuliani was notably vociferous, crude, and outspoken.
The end of the couple’s relationship came as a surprise to most, and after her initial filing last April, Judith said next to nothing to the media for several months. Her only statement at the time said simply, “There are reasons for this filing at this time.”
Characteristically, her husband was less restrained, telling Page Six right away, “It is with great sadness I can confirm that Judith and I are divorcing. We hope to do this as amicably as possible, and hope that people will respect the privacy of our children at this time.” He went on to say some things that later would be revealed to be almost perfectly self-serving: “In these divorce situations, you cannot place blame, it is fifty-fifty, there are problems on both sides.”
The problem for Judith appears to have been that Rudy had begun an affair with a New Hampshire hospital administrator named Maria Ryan. By June, Page Six had a salacious item about a March trip Rudy took to the Granite State to tour Ryan’s hospital, a camera crew in tow. The visit was allegedly designed for Rudy, who runs what he describes as a cybersecurity firm, to get a feel for the hospital’s high-end computer security features, but in fact, it was a date. Once the cameras were gone, Page Six documented that Rudy and Maria, who is married to retired Marine Robert Ryan, headed to a resort in Whitefield, NH, for a romantic getaway.
Staff told the website that they were surprised by the age difference in the couple. Rudy was 74 at the time and Maria 53. Rudy, in his own way, denied the affair, noting that “I do know Dr. Ryan. She is a friend of mine, so is her husband, Bob.” He also described his relationship to his wife during this period as, “in effect separated.”
Judith was having none of it. She released a terse statement along with the Page Six article that said simply and clearly, “My husband’s denial of the affair with the married Mrs. Ryan is as false as his claim that we were separated when he took up with her.” As if to prove her point, Rudy was subsequently spotted traveling abroad with ‘the married Mrs. Ryan,’ including trips to Israel, Paris, and Donald Trump’s Scottish golf resort, Turnberry.
In Israel, where the couple was ostensibly visiting yet another hospital to tour its security features, Maria was described in a press release put out by the hospital as Rudy’s “partner.” In Paris, she sat on panel at a conference for Iranian dissidents, a situation that many described as uncomfortable, both for her revealing attire and her lack of knowledge about American foreign policy, much less Iran’s internal politics.
Meanwhile, whether for fun or for discretion’s sake, Rudy was kicking up as much dust as he could about the affair. At one point, he made a show of “dating” a Republican political operative from Louisiana, attending public functions with her while seeming to fawn over her. The only problem? Her understated but consistent denial that there was any romantic relationship between them.
Whatever that was about, Rudy and Judith were also engaged in the ugly dissolution of their marriage and a division of some $30 million in assets and cash. In an apparent effort to heighten her negotiating power, last September, Judith announced that she was shopping a tell-all memoir about life with Rudy and his inner circle to publishers. If such a book was sold, it’s been kept very quiet by the publishing house.
In a November hearing that was reminiscent of some of the ugliest divorces of the wealthy, Giuliani claimed poverty despite having earned $9 million in 2017 and $5 in 2018. Judith’s lawyer, Bernard Clair, told the judge that Rudy was suffering from “sudden income deficit syndrome,” which he described this way: “The symptoms of the SIDS program is front and center: First, Mr. Giuliani claims financial trouble, financial trouble that existed only post-commencement [of the divorce proceeding], according to his statements. His actions and his finances and his expenses don’t comport with the claim of his income diminishment.”
Indeed, according to his own accounting, Rudy spent $12,000 on cigars last year and $7,000 on pens. Additionally, Judith’s lawyer accused Rudy of spending $286,000 on expenses for Maria and her daughter during the prior five months. One more compliant: Rudy is apparently working for free in his capacity as legal advisor to the president.
Then came the March hearing, which was so out of control that the judge called both spouses out. Giuliani snapped profanely at Judith’s lawyers, responding “Goddamnit!” when he was accused of failing to pay $21,000 in nursing home bills for Judith’s mother. Later, Page Six said he ‘hissed’ “That’s total bulls–t! That’s total bulls–t!” when Judith’s lawyers suggested that Maria could be on hand in Florida to let in appraisers for several properties that Rudy and Judith are fighting over.
Judge Katz tried to introduce some perspective into the room, noting, “At this juncture in a case – it’s been almost a year since filings – the process calms down. Yet it’s still a circus.” Another hearing is scheduled for May 30, when perhaps agreements will have been reached about a house in the Hamptons, renovations to their Manhattan home, and social etiquette at clubs where they are both members.
When your marriage in Queens is ending, it doesn’t have to be a long and drawn out process. Call the team at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino today at 718-523-1111 for a free consultation with an experienced Queens divorce and child custody attorney.