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Rudy Giuliani is target of criminal probe into Georgia election ‘interference’

Rudy Giuliani is target of criminal probe into Georgia election ‘interference’

R

udy Giuliani has revealed he is a target of the criminal investigation into possible illegal attempts by former US president Donald Trump and others to interfere in the 2020 general election in Georgia.

Prosecutors informed attorneys for the former New York mayor on Monday that he was a focus of the investigation.

The revelation that Mr Giuliani, an outspoken defender of Mr Trump, could face criminal charges from the investigation by Fulton County District attorney Fani Willis edges the probe closer to the former president.

Ms Willis has said she is considering calling Mr Trump himself to testify before the special grand jury, and the former president has hired a criminal defence lawyer in Atlanta.

Last week, the FBI searched Mr Trump’s Florida home as part of its investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago estate.

He is also facing a civil investigation in New York over allegations that his company, the Trump Organisation, misled banks and tax authorities about the value of his assets.

Rudy Giuliani with then president-elect Donald Trump in 2016

/ AFP/Getty Images

And the Justice Department is investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol by Trump supporters as well as efforts by him and his allies to overturn the election he falsely claimed was stolen.

Mr Giuliani, who spread false claims of election fraud in Atlanta’s Fulton County as he led election-challenging efforts in Georgia, is to testify on Wednesday before a special grand jury that was impanelled at Ms Willis’ request.

Mr Giuliani’s lawyer declined to say whether he would answer questions or decline.

Special prosecutor Nathan Wade alerted Mr Giuliani’s team in Atlanta that he was an investigation target, the former mayor’s lawyer Robert Costello said on Monday. News of the disclosure was first reported by The New York Times.

Speaking on a New York radio show on Monday, Mr Giuliani said he had been serving as Mr Trump’s attorney in Georgia.

“You do this to a lawyer, we don’t have America anymore,” he said.

Earlier on Monday, a federal judge said US Senator Lindsey Graham must testify before the special grand jury. Prosecutors have said they want to ask Mr Graham about phone calls they say he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff in the weeks following the election.

Ms Willis’s investigation was spurred by a phone call between Mr Trump and Mr Raffensperger. During that January 2021 conversation, Mr Trump suggested that Mr Raffensperger “find” the votes needed to reverse his narrow loss in the state.

Ms Willis last month filed petitions seeking to compel testimony from seven Trump associates and advisers.

In seeking Mr Giuliani’s testimony, Ms Willis identified him as both a personal attorney for Mr 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 Mr 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 December 3 2020 hearing, Mr Raffensperger’s office had debunked the video. But Mr Giuliani continued to make statements to the public and in subsequent legislative hearings claiming widespread voter fraud using the debunked video, Ms Willis wrote.

Evidence shows that Mr Giuliani’s hearing appearance and testimony were “part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere”, her petition says.

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has described his call to Mr Raffensperger as “perfect”.

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