Giuliani is target of election probe, his lawyers are told

Giuliani
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

By KATE BRUMBACK and JILL COLVIN Associated Press

Prosecutors in Atlanta on Monday 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, one of Giuliani’s lawyers said Monday.

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, Bob Costello said. News of the disclosure was first reported by The New York Times.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation last year, and a special grand jury was seated in May at her request. County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who’s overseeing the special grand jury, has instructed Giuliani to appear before the panel to testify on Wednesday.

Willis’s investigation was spurred by a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that January 2021 conversation, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss in the state.

It has also become clear that the district attorney is interested in Georgia legislative committee hearings that were held in December 2020 where Giuliani appeared and spread false claims of election fraud in Atlanta’s Fulton County.

Willis last month filed petitions seeking to compel testimony from seven Trump associates and advisers. Because they don’t live in Georgia, she had to use a process that involves 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 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 Dec. 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 “was 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 says.

Giuliani had argued he couldn’t travel to Atlanta to testify because of health issues, but Fulton County Judge McBurney instructed him to appear on Wednesday.

Associated Press writers Meg Kinnard in Columbia, S.C., and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed reporting.

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