Lawyers billed taxpayers $850 an hour to defend de Blasio

The outside law firm hired by Mayor Bill de Blasio to defend him against a probe by federal law enforcement officials billed taxpayers as much as $850 an hour as part of a $2.63 million agreement — and then tried to keep it secret.

A contract that was finally signed this month between the city and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel — and obtained by The Post through the public disclosure law — shows the $850 rate applied to partners at the criminal defense and lobbying firm.

The deal allowed firm associates to bill at $500 per hour, paralegals to charge $250 per hour, and other clerical staff to charge $175 an hour.

The contract was signed May 1 — more than two years after the mayor tapped the law firm to provide him with services.

Kramer Levin was hired on April 11, 2016, in response to a probe by the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office of the mayor’s fundraising and allegations that City Hall was providing special treatment to donors.

The probe and a separate investigation — by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office of the mayor’s fundraising — were closed without any charges filed in March 2017.

De Blasio insisted from the get-go that he’d pay his own legal bills, but reversed course in June 2017 — when he shifted $2.6 million of his legal fees to taxpayers.

He still owes about $300,000 in personal legal fees that were unrelated to his duties as mayor, and that he hasn’t taken any steps toward paying.

The contract shows that Kramer Levin requested that the agreement with the city be kept private and exempt from Freedom of Information Law requests — which would be illegal.

The firm also asked to be informed of any FOIL requests so it could “pursue any available remedies.”

Despite the request, Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office on Friday fulfilled a FOIL request from The Post for the records.

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