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Giuliani Aide Released From Prison, Blasts Ex-Mayor

NEW YORK (AP) -- A former aide to Rudy Giuliani is out of prison and attacking the ex-mayor's ethics, saying he was ordered to help Giuliani's then-girlfriend get a below-market rent apartment.

Russell Harding, who got five years for embezzling more than $400,000 in city funds and downloading child pornography onto his computer, claims on his Web site that Giuliani's two terms as mayor were marked by ethical breaches.

Harding, 43, claims that in 1999, while he was the head of the city's Housing Development Corp., he was instructed to help Judith Nathan get a Manhattan apartment that would normally cost more than $3,000 for about half that price.

Harding claims that by working with executives at a real estate company, he eventually helped Nathan secure a great deal on an apartment not far from the mayor's residence, Gracie Mansion in Manhattan.

Nathan later married Giuliani. Her spokesman, Bob Leonard, denied Harding's allegations, saying she paid market rent for the apartment.

Aides to Giuliani also denied the claims. They supplied a letter Harding wrote to another Giuliani adviser last year in which he said he doesn't want to talk to the press about Giuliani but does need money.

"Do you or any of my old friends have any plans to help me close the yawning financial gap created over the last four years?" Harding asks in the letter.

Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said Harding's allegations "are false and untrue. Sadly, the letter makes all too clear Russell's motivations."

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