Rudy Giuliani arrives to testify in Georgia investigations into Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election

ATLANTA– Rudy Giuliani arrived Wednesday at a judge’s order at an Atlanta courthouse to appear before a special grand jury investigating attempts by former President Donald Trump and others to overturn his 2020 Georgia election defeat.

News cameras swarmed over Giuliani as he exited a limousine with his attorney, Bob Costello, and walked up the steps to the Fulton County Courthouse on Wednesday morning. Giuliani told reporters that he would not speak about his testimony.

“Grand juries, as far as I can remember, are secret,” he said on CNN. “You 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 after his attorneys were informed that he is a target of the investigation. The questioning takes place behind closed doors as the special procedures of the grand jury are secret.

MORE: Rudy Giuliani shared he’s now ‘target’ in Georgia 2020 election probe

But Giuliani’s appearance is another high-profile step in a rapidly escalating investigation that has tangled several Trump allies and compounded desperate and ultimately failed efforts to overthrow Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. It’s one of several investigations into Trump’s official actions as he lays the groundwork for another White House run in 2024.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis began her investigation after a high-profile phone conversation between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was revealed on Jan. 2, 2021. On the call, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could “find” the exact number of votes it would take to turn around the Georgia election results.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing. He has described the call as “perfect”.

Willis filed petitions last month to compel testimony from seven Trump employees and advisers. She has also said she is considering calling Trump himself to testify, and the former president has hired a legal team in Atlanta that includes a prominent criminal defense attorney.

In seeking Giuliani’s testimony, Willis found that he was both a personal attorney for Trump and a lead attorney for his 2020 campaign.

Recalling in a petition Giuliani and others appeared at a state Senate committee meeting in late 2020, she presented video that Giuliani said showed poll workers making “suitcases” containing illegal ballots from unknown sources, out of view by 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 lawmaker hearings, in which she claimed she committed widespread voter fraud with the debunked video, Willis noted in her filing.

Two of the poll workers seen in the video, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, said they faced relentless harassment online and in person after it was revealed at the Dec. 3 Georgia law hearing where Giuliani appeared. At another hearing a week later, Giuliani said the footage showed the women “surreptitiously passing around USB ports like they were vials of heroin or cocaine.” They actually passed a piece of candy.

Willis wrote in the court filing that Giuliani’s appearance and testimony “were part of a multi-state coordinated Trump campaign plot to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

Willis also wrote in a petition asking for attorney Kenneth Chesebro to testify that he worked with Giuliani to coordinate and implement a plan to have Georgia Republicans serve as fake voters. These 16 people signed a certificate falsely declaring that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and proclaimed themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” voters, even though Biden had won the state and a list of Democratic voters was certified .

Giuliani’s attorneys attempted to delay his special panel appearance, saying he was unable to fly due to heart stent surgery in early July.

But Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversees the special grand jury, said during 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 included in the investigation. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, received a subpoena ordering him to appear for testimony on August 23. Graham has challenged that subpoena, citing his protection as a member of Congress. A judge dismissed that argument Monday, saying he had to testify. Graham has announced that he will appeal.

Willis has signaled her interest in talks between Graham and Raffensberger about the Georgia results in the weeks after the election.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Rudy Giuliani arrives to testify in Georgia investigations into Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election

Laura Coffey

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