ATLANTE — Rudy Giuliani arrived at an Atlanta courthouse on Wednesday under a judge’s order to appear before a special grand jury investigating attempts by former President Donald Trump and others to reverse his election defeat. of 2020 in Georgia.
News cameras swarmed Giuliani as he got out of a limo Wednesday morning with his attorney, Bob Costello, and walked up the steps of the Fulton County Courthouse. Giuliani told reporters he would not speak about his testimony.
“Grand juries, if I remember correctly, are secret,” he told CNN. “They ask the questions and we’ll see.”
It’s unclear how much the former New York City mayor and Trump attorney will be willing to say now that his attorneys have been told he was the target of the investigation. The questioning will take place behind closed doors because the special grand jury procedure is secret.
Yet Giuliani’s appearance is another high-profile step in a rapidly escalating investigation that has ensnared several Trump allies and brought scrutiny to the desperate and ultimately failed efforts to overturn the Democrat’s election victory. Joe Biden in 2020. This is one of many investigations into Trump’s actions in office as he lays the groundwork for another race for the White House in 2024.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened his investigation after the disclosure of a remarkable January 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. On the call, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could “figure out” the exact number of votes that would be needed to reverse Georgia’s election results.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing. He described the call as “perfect”.
Willis filed petitions last month to compel seven Trump associates and advisers to testify. She also said she plans to call Trump himself to testify, and the former president has hired a legal team in Atlanta that includes a prominent criminal defense attorney.
Searching for Giuliani’s testimony, Willis noted that he was both a personal attorney for Trump and a lead attorney for his 2020 campaign.
She recalled in a petition how Giuliani and others appeared at a state Senate committee meeting in late 2020 and presented a video that Giuliani said showed election officials producing “suitcases.” illegal ballots from unknown sources, out of sight of election observers. The allegations of fraud were debunked by Georgian election officials within 24 hours. Still, Giuliani continued to make statements to the public and in subsequent legislative hearings, alleging widespread voter fraud using the debunked video, Willis noted in his filing.
Two of the election workers seen in the video, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, said they were subjected to relentless harassment online and in person after it aired during the December 3 legislative hearing in Georgia at the during which Giuliani appeared. At another hearing a week later, Giuliani said the footage showed the women “surreptitiously going around the USB ports as if they were heroin or cocaine vials.” In fact, they were passing a candy.
Willis wrote in the court filing that Giuliani’s appearance and testimony was “part of a coordinated, multi-state plan by the Trump campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”
Willis also wrote in a petition seeking testimony from attorney Kenneth Chesebro that he had worked with Giuliani to coordinate and implement a plan to have Georgia Republicans serve as fake voters. These 16 people signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” voters even though Biden had won the state and a list of Democratic voters had been certified.
Giuliani’s lawyers tried to delay his appearance before the special grand jury, saying he was unable to fly due to heart stent surgery in early July.
But Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who is overseeing the special grand jury, told a hearing last week that Giuliani had to be in Atlanta on Wednesday and could travel by bus, car or train. if necessary.
Other Trump allies have also been dragged into the investigation. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, received a subpoena ordering him to appear to testify on August 23. Graham challenged that subpoena, citing his protections as a congressman. A judge on Monday dismissed that argument and said he had to testify. Graham said he would appeal.
Willis said she was interested in calls between Graham and Raffensberger about the results in Georgia in the weeks following the election.
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