Judge orders Rudy Giuliani to testify before Fulton special grand jury

By: - July 21, 2022 12:57 pm

Former President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has disputed claims made by two witnesss in the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee probe that he was drunk on the night of the 2020 presidential election. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder (File 2020)

A court has ordered former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to testify in Fulton County about his Georgia crusade to overturn Republican Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election.

A New York judge ruled Wednesday that the former Trump attorney is required to appear before a Fulton County special grand jury on Aug. 9. The grand jury is investigating whether Trump and his allies conspired to circumvent Georgia election law.

The 23-member panel will make recommendations on whether Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis should pursue criminal charges against Giuliani or other targets of the investigation.

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Giuliani fervently promoted accusations of widespread fraud in Georgia’s election, including at a state Senate subcommittee hearing at the Capitol where he advocated for state lawmakers to appoint illegitimate electors to cast votes for Trump.

During the hearing, Giuliani and other Trump-associated attorneys claimed that a video showing Fulton election workers processing absentee ballots at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena was a smoking gun that proved that a rigged election led to Trump’s loss to Democrat Joe Biden by fewer than 12,000 votes. A former Georgia prosecutor found no evidence of impropriety.

The accusations of illegal ballot counting were vigorously refuted by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who became the impetus for Willis’ investigation into potential interference after a recording of Trump pressing the elections chief to find enough votes to overturn Biden’s win surfaced in January 2021.

The Fulton County case is playing out at the same time as the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting its own investigation and as the U.S. House Jan. 6th committee is set to hold a prime-time hearing Thursday about the events that led to the riot at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.

Brad Woodhouse, co-chair of Defend Democracy Project, a nonprofit formed in 2016, said the congressional probe is painstakingly laying out how Trump, Giuliani, and others tried to undermine the presidential election results.

Giuliani should be held accountable for his role in spreading conspiracy theories about the election, as he worked with others to try to prevent legitimate certifications in Georgia and other states from becoming final, Woodhouse said.

“The most likely places that the president and his allies could be held (criminally) accountable is either through the Justice Department and in Fulton County, but there are other places where their efforts should be scrutinized. For example all the other states where there were fake elector schemes,” Woodhouse said.

According to Willis, Georgia was a target of Trump sympathizers as part of a multistate coordinated effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

The outcome of several other attempts to block the Fulton court’s summons for top elected Republicans to testify is set to play out in the coming days.

Federal judges should decide soon whether South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Georgia GOP U.S. Rep. Jody Hice can be forced to comply by a state court as members of Congress. It was widely reported that Graham talked with Raffensperger and at least one other state election official about recalculating absentee votes to help Trump claim victory.

The probe has expanded to include subpoenas filed against 16 people who participated as an unauthorized Republican Georgia elector to submit false documents to Congress certifying Trump’s win.

One of those Republican electors, state Sen. Burt Jones, is scheduled to appear at a Fulton County Superior Court hearing on Thursday to consider a motion to disqualify Willis from the special investigation because she helped fundraise for Jones’ Democratic opponent in Georgia’s Nov. 8 lieutenant governor’s contest.

Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, as well as other GOP fake electors, are claiming that Willis’ office is not authorized to determine the validity of the electoral documents.

Trump’s supporters drafted a letter in December 2020 urging Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, House Speaker David Ralston, and Senate Pro Tem Butch Miller to call a special legislative session, claiming that the U.S. Department of Justice had significant concerns about the validity of the state’s presidential election results.

Kemp, who repeatedly deflected pressure to call a special legislative session, is set to record a statement for the jury on July 25.

This story was published earlier by the Georgia Recorder, an affiliate of the nonprofit States Newsroom network, which includes the Florida Phoenix.

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Stanley Dunlap
Stanley Dunlap

Stanley Dunlap is a reporter at the Georgia Recorder, part of the nonprofit States Newsroom that includes the Florida Phoenix. Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis.