Atlanta, GA– Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been informed that he is considered a “target” of the Georgia criminal investigation investigating efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Giuliani’s attorney received a call Monday informing him he was a target of the investigation, the sources said.
The move comes just two days before Giuliani is scheduled to testify before the special jury and as investigations appear to be ramping up in Georgia.
Giuliani is scheduled to testify on Wednesday.
Previously, 16 allegedly fake voters in the state were notified that they were considered “targets” of the investigation.
Last week, a local attorney for Giuliani said in open court that Giuliani’s legal team inquired with the district attorney “whether or not Mr. Giuliani is a target of this investigation” but “have not yet received a response.”
The special jury set up in the inquiry cannot return charges and can only make recommendations for prosecution.
Another grand jury would be needed to bring charges.
Separately, a federal judge said Monday that US Senator Lindsey Graham must testify before the special jury.
Graham’s attorneys had argued that his position as a US Senator gave him immunity from appearing before the investigative committee and asked the judge to vacate his subpoena, but US District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in an order Monday that immunities attached to his role as a senator do not protect him from having to testify.
Graham’s subpoena directs him to appear before the special jury on Aug. 23, but his office said Monday he plans to appeal to the US 11th Circuit.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis began the investigation last year, and this year a special grand jury with subpoena powers was installed at her request.
Last month, she filed petitions to compel testimony from seven Trump advisers and associates.
Prosecutors have indicated they want to question Graham about phone calls he allegedly made with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his associates in the weeks following Trump’s election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Graham had argued that a provision of the Constitution provides absolute protection against a senator being questioned about legislation. However, the judge noted that there are “significant areas of potential grand jury investigation” that are outside the scope of this provision. The judge also rejected Graham’s argument that the principle of “sovereign immunity” protects a senator from being subpoenaed by a prosecutor.
Graham also argued that Willis, a Democrat, failed to demonstrate exceptional circumstances necessary to compel testimony from a senior official. But the judge disagreed, noting that Willis demonstrated “extraordinary circumstances and a special need” for Graham’s testimony on issues related to an alleged attempt to influence or disrupt the Georgia election.
Judge May last month dismissed a similar attempt by US Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., to avoid testifying before the special panel.
Graham’s office said in a statement Monday that the senator disagreed with the judge’s interpretation of the constitutional provision, which he believes protects him from being questioned by a state official. His lawyers said he was conducting research, which was clearly part of his legislative duties, in connection with confirming the vote and proposing election-related legislation.
However, the judge wrote that this “ignores the fact that individuals in the calls have publicly implied that Senator Graham was not only involved in establishing legislative facts, but instead was suggesting or implying that Georgia election officials change their processes or.” may alter the state’s results in other ways.”
In calls shortly after the 2020 general election, “Graham questioned Secretary Raffensperger and his staff to re-examine certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia to examine the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a petition.
Graham “also referred to allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 Georgia election, consistent with public statements by known Trump campaign partners,” she wrote.
Republican and Democrat election officials across the country, courts, and even Trump’s attorney general found there was insufficient evidence of voter fraud sufficient to affect the outcome of his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
Lawmakers allied with Trump planned to challenge the balance sheets of several battleground states when Congress met on January 6, 2021 to confirm the findings under the Electoral Count Act, but following the attack on the Capitol that day, Georgia’s balance sheet was never challenged.
Willis has confirmed the scope of the investigation includes a January 2, 2021 phone conversation between Trump and Raffensperger, in which Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss in Georgia.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, that’s one more than we have,” Trump said during that call.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called his call to Raffensperger “perfect.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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https://abc7.com/rudy-giuliani-georgia-2020-election-donald-trump/12127735/ Rudy Giuliani’s attorneys said he is now the “target” of the Georgia 2020 election probe