Atlanta prosecutors told attorneys for Rudy Giuliani Monday that he was a target of their criminal investigation into possible illegal attempts by then-President Donald Trump and others to interfere in Georgia’s 2020 general election, one of Giuliani’s attorneys said Monday .
Special Attorney Nathan Wade alerted Giuliani’s local attorney in Atlanta that the former mayor of New York City could face criminal charges, said another Giuliani attorney, Bob Costello. News of the revelation was first reported by the New York Times.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis began the investigation last year, and a special grand jury was installed at her request in May. County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversees the Special Grand Jury, ordered Giuliani to testify before the panel on Wednesday.
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Willis’ investigation was spurred by a phone conversation between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that January 2021 call, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to make up for his narrow loss in the state.
It has also become clear that the district attorney is interested in Georgia Legislative Committee hearings that took place in December 2020 where Giuliani surfaced and spread false allegations of voter fraud in Fulton County in Atlanta.
Willis filed petitions last month to compel testimony from seven Trump employees and advisers. Since they don’t live in Georgia, she had to use a procedure that involves asking a judge in the states where they live to order her appearance.
In a petition asking for Giuliani’s testimony, Willis identified him as both personal counsel for Trump and lead counsel for his campaign. She wrote that he and others appeared at a Senate state committee meeting and presented a video that Giuliani said showed poll workers making “cases” of illegal ballots from unknown sources, out of sight of poll observers.
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Within 24 hours of that December 3, 2020 hearing, Raffensperger’s office had debunked the video. But Giuliani continued to make statements to the public and in subsequent lawmaker hearings, in which he claimed he had committed widespread voter fraud with the debunked video, Willis wrote.
Evidence shows that Giuliani’s hearing and testimony “were part of a multi-state coordinated plan by the Trump campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” the petition reads.
Also on Monday, a federal judge said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham must testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies broke laws in trying to overturn his narrow loss in the 2020 general election repealed in the state.
Lawyers for Graham, RS.C., had argued that his position as a US Senator gave him immunity from appearing before the investigative committee and asked the judge to vacate his subpoena. But US District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in an order Monday that immunities related to his role as a senator do not protect him from having to testify. Graham’s subpoena directs him to appear before the special jury on Aug. 23, but his office said Monday he plans to appeal to the US 11th Circuit.
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Prosecutors have indicated they want to question Graham about phone calls he allegedly made with Georgia’s Foreign Minister Raffensperger and his associates in the weeks following Trump’s election defeat by Democrat Joe Biden.
Graham had argued that a provision of the Constitution provides absolute protection against a senator being questioned about legislation. However, the judge noted that there are “significant areas of potential grand jury investigation” that do not fall within the scope of this provision. The judge also rejected Graham’s argument that the principle of “sovereign immunity” protects a senator from being subpoenaed by a prosecutor.
Graham also argued that Willis, a Democrat, failed to demonstrate exceptional circumstances necessary to compel testimony from a senior official. But the judge disagreed, noting that Willis demonstrated “extraordinary circumstances and a special need” for Graham’s testimony on issues related to an alleged attempt to influence or disrupt the Georgia election.
May, the judge, last month dismissed a similar attempt by US Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., to avoid testifying before the special panel. Former New York City mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani had argued he could not travel to Atlanta to testify due to ill health, but Fulton County Judge McBurney ordered him to appear on Wednesday.
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Graham’s office said in a statement Monday that the senator disagreed with the judge’s interpretation of the constitutional provision, which he believes protects him from being questioned by a state official. His lawyers said he was conducting research, which was clearly part of his legislative duties, in connection with confirming the vote and proposing election-related legislation.
However, the judge wrote that this “ignores the fact that individuals in the calls have publicly implied that Senator Graham was not only involved in establishing legislative facts, but instead was suggesting or implying that Georgia election officials change their processes or.” may alter the state’s results in other ways.”
In calls shortly after the 2020 general election, “Graham asked Raffensperger and his staff to re-examine certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a petition.
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Graham “also referred to allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 Georgia election, consistent with public statements by known Trump campaign partners,” she wrote.
Republican and Democrat election officials across the country, courts, and even Trump’s attorney general found there was insufficient evidence of voter fraud sufficient to affect the outcome of his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
Lawmakers allied with Trump planned to challenge the balance sheets of several battleground states when Congress met on January 6, 2021 to confirm the findings under the Electoral Count Act, but following the attack on the Capitol that day, Georgia’s balance sheet was never challenged.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called his call to Raffensperger “perfect.”
Associated Press writers Meg Kinnard in Columbia, SC and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed coverage.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/9061356/giuliani-georgia-election-probe-target/ Rudy Giuliani a target in Georgia election interference investigation, his attorneys say – National