Former New York City mayor could face criminal charges related to possible illegal attempts by then President Donald Trump and others to interfere in the 2020 general election in Georgia.
Prosecutors in Atlanta have told lawyers for Rudy Giuliani that he’s a target of their criminal investigation into possible illegal attempts by then president Donald Trump and others to interfere in the 2020 general election in Georgia.
Special prosecutor Nathan Wade alerted Giuliani's local attorney in Atlanta that the former New York City mayor could face criminal charges, another Giuliani attorney, Robert Costello, said on Monday. News of the disclosure was first reported by The New York Times.
The revelation that Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, is a target of the investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis edges the probe closer to the former president. Willis has said she is considering calling Trump himself to testify before the special grand jury, and the former president has hired a criminal defence attorney in Atlanta.
Law enforcement scrutiny of Trump's actions is escalating. Last week, the FBI searched his Florida home as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House 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 January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol by Trump supporters and efforts to overturn the election he falsely claimed was stolen.
Giuliani, who spread false claims of election fraud in Atlanta's Fulton County as he led efforts to overturn the state's election results, is to testify Wednesday before a special grand jury that was impanelled at Willis's request.
Giuliani played multiple roles for Trump
In seeking Giuliani’s testimony, Willis identified him as both a personal attorney for Trump and a lead attorney for his campaign. She wrote that he and others appeared at a state Senate committee meeting and presented a video that Giuliani said showed election workers producing “suitcases” of unlawful ballots from unknown sources, outside the view of election poll watchers.
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 legislative hearings claiming widespread voter fraud using the debunked video, Willis wrote.
Evidence shows that Giuliani’s hearing appearance 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 says.
Two of the election workers seen in the video, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, said they faced relentless harassment online and in person after it was shown at a December 3 Georgia legislative hearing where Giuliani appeared.
At another hearing a week later, Giuliani said the footage showed the women “surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine.” They actually were passing a piece of candy.
Willis also wrote in a petition seeking the testimony of attorney Kenneth Chesebro that he worked with Giuliani to coordinate and carry out a plan to have Georgia Republicans serve as fake electors. Those 16 people signed a certificate declaring falsely that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors even though Joe Biden had won the state and a slate of Democratic electors was certified.
All 16 of those fake electors have received letters saying they are targets of the investigation, Willis said in a court filing last month.
Attorneys for Graham have argued that his position as a senator provides him immunity from having to appear before the investigative panel. But US District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in an order on Monday that immunities related to his role as a senator do not protect him from having to testify. Graham's subpoena instructs him to appear before the special grand jury on August 23, but his office said on Monday that he plans to appeal.
In calls made shortly after the 2020 general election, Graham “questioned Raffensperger and his staff about re-examining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favourable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a petition.
Republican and Democratic state election officials across the country, courts and even Trump's attorney general have found there was no evidence of voter fraud sufficient to affect the outcome of his 2020 presidential election loss.