Prosecutors in Atlanta on Monday told attorneys about Rudy Giuliani that he was the target of their criminal investigation into the possible illegal efforts of the then President. Donald Trump and others to interfere in the 2020 general election in Georgiaone of Giuliani’s attorneys said Monday.
Special Counsel Nathan Wade warned Giuliani’s local attorney in Atlanta that the former New York City mayor could face criminal charges, another Giuliani attorney, Bob Costello, said. News of the revelation was first reported by The New York Times.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation last year and a special grand jury sat in May at her request. Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury, directed Giuliani to appear before the panel to testify on Wednesday.
Willis’ investigation was prompted by a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that January 2021 conversation, Trump suggested that Raffensperger might “find” the votes needed to overturn his tight losing streak in the state.
It also became clear that the district attorney was interested in the Georgia legislative committee hearings held in December 2020, where Giuliani appeared and spread election fraud allegations in Fulton County’s Fulton County. Atlanta.
Willis last month filed a petition seeking to compel testimony from seven Trump associates and advisers. Because they don’t live in Georgia, she had to use a process that included asking a judge in the states where they live to order them to appear.
In a petition seeking Giuliani’s testimony, Willis identified him as both Trump’s personal attorney and the lead attorney for his campaign. She wrote that he and others showed up at a state Senate committee meeting and showed a video that Giuliani said showed election workers manufacturing “suitcases” of illegal ballots. from unidentified sources, beyond the view of election poll watchers.
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Within 24 hours of December 3, 2020, Raffensperger’s office released the video. But Giuliani continued to make public statements and in subsequent legislative hearings, claiming that widespread voter fraud using the video was removed, Willis wrote.
Evidence that Giuliani’s hearing and testimony “was part of a multi-state plan, coordinated by the Trump Campaign to influence the outcome of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere, ‘ wrote the petition.
Also Monday, a federal judge said US Senator Lindsey Graham must testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta, which is investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies whether he broke any laws while trying to overturn the state’s 2020 general election defeat.
Attorneys for Graham, RS.C., have argued that his position as a U.S. senator gives him immunity from having to appear before an investigative panel and ask the judge to dismiss him. his subpoena. But U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in an order Monday that the immunities related to his senatorial role do not protect him from having to testify. Graham’s subpoena instructs him to appear before a special grand jury on August 23, but his office on Monday said he plans to appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. USA.
Prosecutors said they wanted to question Graham about phone calls they said he made to Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger and his staff in the weeks after Trump lost the election to Democrat Joe Biden.
Graham has argued that a provision of the Constitution provides absolute protection against a senator being questioned about legislative acts. But the judge found there were “substantial areas in the potential grand jury investigation” that fell outside the scope of that provision. The judge also rejected Graham’s argument that the principle of “sovereign immunity” protects a senator from being subpoenaed by a state prosecutor.
Graham also argued that Willis, a Democrat, failed to demonstrate the extraordinary circumstances necessary to compel a senior official to testify. But the judge disagreed, arguing that Willis had shown “extraordinary circumstances and special need” to Graham’s testimony on matters related to an alleged attempt to influence or disrupt elections in Georgia.
Last month, the judge, last month, rejected a similar attempt by U.S. Representative Jody Hice, R-Ga., to avoid testifying before a special grand jury. Former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani argued he couldn’t come to Atlanta to testify because of health issues, but Fulton County Judge McBurney asked him to appear on Tuesday Private.
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Graham’s office said in a statement Monday that the senator disagreed with the judge’s interpretation of a provision of the Constitution that he believes protects him from questioning by a state official. . His lawyers have said he is making requests that are clearly part of his legislative duties, which involve certifying votes and proposing election-related legislation.
But the judge wrote that that ignores “the fact that individuals on the calls have publicly suggested that Senator Graham was not just engaged in legislative fact-finding but instead proposed or imply that Georgia election officials change their process or potentially change the state’s outcome.”
In calls made shortly after the 2020 general election, Graham “questioned Raffensperger and his staff about reviewing certain absentee ballots elected in Georgia to explore the possibility of likely to have a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a petition.
Graham also “referred to allegations of voter fraud prevalent in the November 2020 election in Georgia, consistent with public statements by known affiliates of the Trump Campaign,” she wrote.
Republican and Democratic election officials around the country, courts and even Trump’s attorney general found no evidence of voter fraud enough to influence the outcome. his 2020 presidential election loss.
Trump-allied lawmakers planned to challenge opportunities from several battleground states when Congress meets on January 6, 2021, to certify the results under the Voter Count Act, but After the Capitol attack that day, Georgia’s vote count was never contested.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and described his call with Raffensperger as “perfect.”
Associated Press writers Meg Kinnard of Columbia, SC, and Lisa Mascaro of Washington contributed reporting.
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