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Rudy Giuliani set to testify before Ga. grand jury on 2020 election

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ATLANTA — Rudy Giuliani appeared before a special Georgia grand jury on Wednesday for six hours as part of a criminal investigation into efforts to nullify the 2020 election.

He left the courthouse around 3 p.m. One of his attorneys, Bill Thomas, declined to provide details about Giuliani’s appearance, citing grand jury secrecy rules. “We were ordered to be here. We introduced ourselves,” Thomas told reporters outside the courthouse.

The former New York mayor, who was told on Monday he was under investigation, is the most high-profile member of Donald Trump’s inner circle to appear before grand jurors.

He passed a crowd of reporters to enter the courthouse around 8:30 a.m., accompanied by his lawyer, Robert Costello.. His long-awaited testimony marks a victory for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D), who has faced challenges in recent weeks as his office struggled to hear sworn statements from elected officials and others Trump allies.

Giuliani was one of the most committed and outspoken defenders of Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, repeatedly telling Georgia lawmakers he had evidence of widespread voter fraud. State election officials were quick to debunk these claims.

Giuliani was subpoenaed on July 5 alongside others involved with the Trump campaign who were active in spreading false allegations, including attorneys John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell and Jenna Ellis. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.), who called Georgia officials about the results, was also subpoenaed, and a federal judge on Monday dismissed his efforts to avoid showing up.

Willis initially requested Giuliani’s appearance as an “important witness.” On Monday, Giuliani’s lawyers were told his status had changed and he was now considered a “target” of the ongoing investigation, meaning he could be charged if the investigation progresses.

Giuliani’s attorneys have sought to delay his testimony for health reasons, citing recent heart stent surgery. But Willis’s office insisted.

Trump allies resist testifying as Georgia election probe expands

“We will provide alternate transportation, including bus or train, if your client maintains that he is unable to fly,” his office wrote in an email to Giuliani’s attorneys. As Giuliani pushed for a delay, prosecutors filed a legal case claiming he had traveled outside of New York since his surgery and claiming they had obtained documents showing he was paying cash for tickets. plane for the end of July bound for Rome and Zurich.

Costello called the prosecutors’ claims “ridiculous”, adding that “Giuliani has not flown anywhere since his surgery. He has not purchased these tickets and has never purchased airline tickets with cash for any reason. whether it be.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge handling the case, Robert McBurney, had postponed Giuliani’s appearance for a week, but later denied further requests for a delay.

When he arrived at the courthouse, a local reporter asked the former mayor how he got to Atlanta. “I’ll give you an answer,” he said, “I didn’t walk.”

Despite best efforts to bring Giuliani to court, it was unclear on Tuesday whether the former New York mayor would provide any substantive information.

The legal danger of Giuliani in Georgia

Costello said in an interview with The Washington Post that Giuliani planned to cite attorney-client privilege if asked about his interactions with the former president regarding the 2020 election. Giuliani could follow the lead of other targets. who were subpoenaed in this case and refused to answer questions based on the constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Giuliani faced related questions from several other investigations. He had his attorney’s license suspended in New York for debunked voter fraud allegations he made in Georgia and other states. He is among those sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems.

He was subpoenaed to testify for several hours before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. That panel and an ongoing Justice Department investigation looked at plans to send rival lists of presidential voters to Washington before congressional certification of the vote.

Being a special grand jury subject is not a direct indication that Giuliani will ultimately be prosecuted by Willis’ office. Rather, the notice informs Giuliani’s attorneys that the evidence investigators have gathered so far indicates he may have broken the law in Georgia.

In the subpoena, Willis’ team cited Giuliani’s comments ahead of a Georgia Senate hearing in which he provided testimony and evidence “purporting to demonstrate the existence of voter fraud in several counties in Georgia during the administration of the November 2020 elections”.

The subpoena requested Giuliani’s appearance because he has “unique knowledge of communications between himself, former President Trump, the Trump campaign and other known and unknown individuals involved in the coordinated multi -states to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.”

Announcing the scope of the investigation in February 2021, Willis said his team would examine “potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of voter fraud”, misrepresentation to state government bodies, conspiracy and d ‘other questions.

Fulton County prosecutors have already questioned several state lawmakers about Giuliani’s statements before legislative committees in December 2020. During those meetings, Giuliani claimed that illegal ballots were surreptitiously hidden in suitcases under a tabulation table and that there was widespread underage voting in addition to security issues with voting machines and evidence of dead people voting.

These allegations have been investigated by state officials and have been largely debunked.

Willis’ efforts to prosecute other Trump advisers continued on Tuesday when a Colorado judge ordered Ellis to appear before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury later this month. The order issued by Colorado 8th District Judge Gregory Lammons follows efforts by Willis’ team in July to subpoena Ellis, who lives in Colorado, to appear before the grand jury.

Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia have opened an investigation into the attempt by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results. (Video: Mahlia Posey/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Separately, attorneys for 11 of Trump’s potential voters in Georgia filed a motion on Tuesday asking that Willis and his team be disqualified from investigating them — and possibly the entire investigation — for conducting what they say is a politically motivated prosecution.

The court filing cites the judge’s recent decision to disqualify Willis from investigating a potential Trump voter – Republican Sen. Burt Jones – after Willis staged a fundraiser for Jones’ opponent in the upcoming lieutenant race. -governor. The judge called Willis’ participation in the fundraiser a “what do you think moment.”

Lawyers for the 11 voters argued in their motion that the others were ‘inextricably linked’ to Jones’ campaign and therefore face the same ‘entirely reasonable concerns of politically motivated prosecution’ that the judge found in disqualifying Willis to investigate Jones.

The motion asks that the court find another prosecutor who could “conduct this investigation adequately, fairly and free from existing personal and political conflicts with this prosecutor and his office.”

If the judge does not rule favorably, the lawyers of the 11 voters – who have been informed that they are targeted by the investigation – have asked in their request for an immediate review on appeal.

Willis’ office did not respond to a request for comment.

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