ATLANTA (AP) — Rudy Giuliani is a target of the criminal investigations into possible illegal attempts by then-President Donald Trump and others to meddle in Georgia’s 2020 general election, prosecutors on Monday briefed the former New York City mayor’s attorneys.
The revelation that Giuliani, an outspoken Trump defense attorney, could face criminal charges over the investigation by Fulton County Attorney Fani Willis narrows the investigation closer to the former President. Willis has said she is considering calling Trump himself to testify before the special jury, and the former president has done so hire a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta.
Law enforcement scrutiny against Trump has escalated dramatically. Last week, the FBI searched his Florida home as part of their investigation into whether he brought classified White House records to Mar-a-Lago. He is also facing a civil investigation in New York over allegations that his company, the Trump Organization, misled banks and tax authorities about the value of his assets. And the Justice Department is investigating the Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters in the US Capitol and efforts by him and his allies to overturn the election he falsely claimed was stolen.
Giuliani, who made false allegations of voter fraud in Atlanta’s Fulton County while leading Georgia’s election challenge efforts, is scheduled to testify Wednesday special grand jury this was installed at Willis’ request. Giuliani’s attorney declined to say whether he would answer or decline questions.
Special Attorney Nathan Wade alerted Giuliani’s team in Atlanta that he was a target, Giuliani attorney Robert Costello said Monday. News of the disclosure was first reported by The New York Times.
On a New York radio show Monday, Giuliani said he served as Trump’s attorney in Georgia.
“If you do that to a lawyer, we don’t have America anymore,” he said.
Earlier Monday, a federal judge said US Senator Lindsey Graham must testify before the special jury. Prosecutors have said they want to question Graham about phone calls he allegedly made with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his associates in the weeks following the election.
Willis’ investigation was spurred on by a phone call between Trump and Raffensperger. Meanwhile January 2021 interviewTrump suggested to Raffensperger that he “find” the votes needed to reverse his narrow loss in the state.
Willis filed petitions last month to compel testimony from seven Trump employees and advisers.
in the 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.
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,” her petition reads.
Two of the poll workers seen in the video, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, they said faced relentless harassment online and in person after it was shown at a Legislative Hearing in Georgia on December 3, where Giuliani was performing. At another hearing a week later, Giuliani said the footage showed the women “surreptitiously passing around USB ports like they were vials of heroin or cocaine.” They actually passed a piece of candy.
Willis also wrote in a petition seek the testimony of attorney Kenneth Chesebro that he worked with Giuliani to coordinate and implement a plan to have Georgia Republicans serve as fake voters. These 16 people signed a certificate falsely declaring that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and proclaimed themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” voters, despite the fact that Joe Biden had won the state and certifies a list of Democratic voters became.
All 16 of those fake voters have received letters telling them they are targets of the investigation, Willis said in a court filing last month.
As for Graham, Republican attorneys from South Carolina have argued that his position as a US Senator gives him immunity from appearing before the investigative committee. 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 grand jury on Aug. 23, but his office said Monday he plans to appeal.
rejected in May last month a similar attempt by US Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., to avoid testifying before the special panel.
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 investigations, which are part of his legal duties, in connection with confirming the vote and a proposal for 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 merely involved in establishing legislative facts, but instead implied or implied that Georgia election officials are changing 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.
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 Democratic election officials across the country, courts and even Trump’s Attorney General have determined that there was insufficient evidence of voter fraud to influence 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 results under the Electoral Counts Act, but after the attack on the Capitol To that day, Georgia’s record was never contested.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called his call to Raffensperger “perfect.”
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