Rudolph W. Giuliani, former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, conceded on Friday night that an associate had sent an email to campaign officials asking that Mr. Giuliani be paid $20,000 a day for his work after the Nov. 3 election, but he insisted he was unaware of it at the time.
Mr. Giuliani acknowledged in a brief phone interview that his associate, Maria Ryan, had sent the email shortly after Election Day. But he maintained that she consulted with another associate, Larry Levy, about what Mr. Giuliani should ask for from the campaign while Mr. Giuliani was out of town.
A copy of the email, reviewed by The New York Times, showed that she sent it from a Giuliani Partners email account.
“Mr. Giuliani began working the case in the wee hours of the morning on November 4,” Ms. Ryan wrote. “He has a team in Washington working out of rented hotel rooms.”
She wrote that the company was working on an engagement letter, and that instead of $2,000 an hour, “we will contract for $20,000 a day which will include all of the expenses for Mr. Giuliani and his staff.” The request was sent to at least three campaign officials, at a time when the campaign was raising expansive amounts of money for a legal fund to fight the election results.
When The Times asked about the fee request in November, Mr. Giuliani denied it. He has continued to maintain it was a “lie” that he requested such a fee from the president, saying it as recently as Friday afternoon on his radio show. “I did not do that,” he said.
In the phone interview on Friday night, after The Times asked his spokeswoman about Ms. Ryan’s email, Mr. Giuliani said that he told both the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Mr. Trump, “It’s ridiculous, I don’t want to be paid.”
Mr. Giuliani said he did not recall precisely when he had that conversation. And it was unclear whether he was aware that Ms. Ryan had sent the email when The Times first asked him about the fee request.
“I never had a single expectation of being paid a penny,” Mr. Giuliani said, adding that he’s had a few expenses reimbursed but nothing more. He faulted Mr. Trump’s other advisers and blasted them as “incompetent” in the lead-up to the election.
“I feel extremely bad that I’m portrayed as some kind of money-grubbing ambulance chaser,” Mr. Giuliani said.
“I represented him out of my sense of commitment,” he continued. “I didn’t see anything about this that was going to lead to great wealth. I did see a lot about this that was going to lead to great torture.”