Aug. 18 (UPI) — After efforts to delay the proceeding, former Donald Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani appeared in a Georgia court for several hours on Wednesday to face a special grand jury over efforts in the state to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Giuliani was involved in Trump’s post-election efforts in late 2020 and early 2021 after Democrat Joe Biden defeated the former president, which included moves in Georgia, where Biden won the state’s 16 key electoral votes.
In the subpoena to appear Wednesday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis pointed to comments made by Giuliani before a state Senate hearing in which he provided testimony and evidence “purporting to demonstrate the existence of election fraud in multiple Georgia counties during the administration of the November 2020 election.”
Giuliani was ordered to give closed-door testimony Wednesday in front of the Fulton County grand jury in Atlanta. His lawyer said earlier this week that the former New York City mayor is one of the targets in the investigation.
He spent more than six hours at a courthouse in Atlanta, NBC News reported. Fulton County prosecutors initially requested that Giuliani appear as “a material witness,” but it wasn’t clear how much Giuliani might be willing to say in his appearance on Wednesday now that he’s a “target” of the investigation.
Giuliani attorney Robert Costello said on Monday that his client will likely invoke attorney-client privilege during his grand jury testimony.
“If these people think he’s going to talk about conversations between him and President Trump, they’re delusional,” Costello said, according to The Washington Post.
Being a target of a special grand jury investigation means that there’s evidence indicating that someone may have broken the law in Georgia. It’s not a guarantee that someone will be prosecuted.
Giuliani was acting as Trump’s personal attorney in December 2020 when he accused Fulton County officials of election fraud that aided Biden. In early January 2021, Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffrensperger and asked him to “find” enough votes to beat Biden’s tally in the state — a call that ultimately spurred the investigation from Willis.
Giuliani fought against testifying before the grand jury in-person as his attorney had argued that his health and recent heart surgery prevented him from traveling by plane. But that move to delay was rejected by the judge, who countered that Giuliani could travel to Atlanta by car or by train.
Last month, Willis filed motions to hear testimony from several of Trump’s associates and advisers — and could also possibly call Trump to appear. Trump’s team has hired attorneys in the Atlanta area, including prominent defense lawyer Drew Findling.
Kemp, a Republican who resisted Trump’s efforts to overturn the state’s election results, argued in the legal filing that Willis “enginered the Governor’s interaction with the investigation to reach a crescendo in the middle of an election cycle” as he faces a challenge from Democrat Stacy Abrams.
“For more than a year, the governor’s team has continually expressed his desire to provide a full accounting of his very limited role in the issues being looked at by the special grand jury,” Katie Byrd, Kemp’s communications director said. “We are now just weeks away from the 2022 general election, making it increasingly difficult to dedicate the time necessary to prepare and then appear.”
The grand jury testimony in Georgia is the latest fallout from the failed attempt by Trump to keep power and undo 81 million votes for Biden that were cast in the 2020 election. Giuliani’s law license has been suspended in New York for making false election claims and he’s being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation.
Trump’s team and Republican allies filed numerous unsuccessful court challenges following the 2020 election and no evidence has ever been found to support Trump’s claims that there was voter fraud. His own Homeland Security officials, in fact, concluded that it was the most secure election in U.S. history.