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Giuliani tears into news media over divorce scrutiny


By Tom Watkins

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Mayor Rudy Giuliani lashed out Tuesday at the news media for its coverage of his divorce from Donna Hanover, and expressed dismay that his second attempt to get a gag order was rejected.

"I wish nobody would talk about it, and I wish you would all move on to an issue of public concern," he told reporters.

"Mostly, it's all of you that are driving it, not the people that are involved in it, because you want to exaggerate it and you want to take it out of context and you want to do the best you can to keep it going so you can sell newspapers and get more time on television."

The mayor then appealed for them to back off. "You really should calm it down. The reality is that this has no impact on the people of this city that aren't directly connected to this. They're the ones who are in pain, they're the ones who are hurt by this."

Giuliani said his personal travails have not affected his ability to carry out the duties of his office, though it has taken a personal toll. "I am a very strong person and my job means a great deal to me and that probably has gotten me through a lot of things. So, sure, this is very difficult."

The mayor said he had wanted State Supreme Court Judge Judith Gische to issue a gag order so his divorce "could be done privately and in a dignified way," but Gische refused Monday to do so.

Asked whether he would ask those close to him not to speak publicly about his private life, Giuliani lashed out at the reporters. "There's a hypocrisy in you asking me that. I don't mean personally. I mean as an institution. You are relentless in your quest for information about this. Relentless. Sometimes you get it because you catch somebody in an emotional moment. Most of the thrust of this is coming from you, not the people that are involved. They really would not talk about it, but you're relentless. People jump out of cars. Virtually, people can't go to the bathroom without being covered."

On Monday, Gische granted Hanover's request for a restraining order barring Judith Nathan, Giuliani's girlfriend, from Gracie Mansion, the mayor's official residence.

Giuliani and Hanover continue to live at the mansion with their two children, Andrew and Caroline.

"Although there are many public uses of Gracie Mansion, it has been the children's home for the last seven years of their lives," Gische said in her ruling. "It will continue to be their home for only seven months more. They should have the ability and peace of mind to move freely about the entire mansion without concerning themselves with whether they are in public or private space."

Hanover's attorney said her client was happy with the decision.

Giuliani's attorney, Raoul Felder, noted in a written statement that the decision "allows the parties 30 days to work out some mechanism between themselves and, hopefully, with the cooperation of all parties, this will be achieved."

He added, "Toward that end, the mayor is prepared to be both reasonable and flexible."

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