Ex-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to face questioning in case by artist June 13, 2002

New York City, New York - Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will answer legal questions in a lawsuit brought by an artist who says he was repeatedly arrested after depicting Giuliani as Adolph Hitler in a painting, the city says.

Giuliani was one of 11 former city officials artist Robert Lederman, of Rutherford, N.J., wanted questioned by lawyers in the case in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Lederman said he was falsely arrested more than 40 times while Giuliani was mayor and was never convicted of a crime. City lawyers opposed the allowance of depositions with the others, including a former police commissioner, an ex-parks commissioner and past high-level press aides of the mayor. In court papers filed Wednesday, the city said Giuliani will be produced for a deposition but the others "have no knowledge of any prospective enforcement action against Mr. Lederman."

Robin Binder, a city lawyer, declined to comment. In a letter sent to U.S. District Judge Lawrence M. McKenna, who is hearing the case, the city said it will ask for a court conference to "discuss limiting the scope and duration of the former mayor's testimony."

"We're floored," Lederman said of his surprise that the city is not challenging the deposition by Giuliani. "For eight years, Giuliani has dealt with me at arm's length, through the police, through the court. Now I'm finally going to get to confront him up close and personal and get him to explain why he had me falsely arrested so many times." Lederman said he and other artists saw a side of Giuliani that many across the country do not know about. "I'm certainly hoping that the outcome of this deposition will let the rest of the country know that this man's no hero," Lederman said. "In fact, he's a villain." A message left with a spokeswoman for Giuliani was not immediately returned.

In court papers, the city has said that Lederman was arrested several times after he wrote "Giuliani Police State" and other political statements on the public sidewalk in chalk. It said the arrests were permissible because Lederman violated laws prohibiting the defacement of the public streets.

By Larry Neumeister (Associated Press Writer)


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