Rudolph William Louis “Rudy” Giuliani (/ˈruːdi ˌdʒuːliˈɑːni/; born May 28, 1944) is an American lawyer, businessman, former politician, and public speaker from New York. Politically a Democrat and then an Independent in the 1970s, but a Republican since the 1980s, Giuliani was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York during the 1980s and prosecuted pivotal cases against the Italian Mafia and against corrupt corporate financiers. Giuliani tamed organized crime—most famously leading the case that sent boss John Gotti, the “Teflon Don,” to prison for life based on testimony brokered in a deal with Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. That accomplishment, which won Giuliani a reputation for being tough on crime, helped to launch his political career.
During his first term as Mayor of New York City, Giuliani hired a new police commissioner, William Bratton, who applied the broken windows theory of urban decay, which holds that minor disorders and violations create a permissive atmosphere that leads to further and more serious crimes that can threaten the safety of a city. Within several years, Giuliani was widely credited for major improvements in the city’s quality of life and rates of violent crimes, although later researchers have found the timing largely coincidental. While still mayor, he ran for U.S. Senate in 2000, but withdrew upon diagnosis of prostate cancer. Still, he gained international fame as New York City’s leader in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Giuliani was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2001, and was given an honorary knighthood in 2002 by the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.