ATLANTA – President Donald J. In December 2020, Rudolph W. When Giuliani traveled, he was given a reception befitting an ambassador to the most powerful man on earth. He posed for photos with admirers and sympathetic state politicians.
On Wednesday morning, Mr. Giuliani came back to Atlanta, this time under very different circumstances.
After the November 2020 election Mr. The former New York City mayor, who served as Trump’s personal attorney, appeared before 8:30 a.m. to appear before a Fulton County special grand jury that is conducting a criminal investigation into post-election meddling. and his associates. Local prosecutors said this week that Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers were told in that investigation that he was a “target,” meaning his indictment was possible.
Instead of visiting the elegant gold-domed state Capitol — where he and the pro-Trump group have made several false claims about election fraud, raising concerns about unreliable voting machines and suitcases of illegal ballots — Mr. The Fulton County Courthouse is where Atlantans go to settle real estate disputes, file for divorce or be convicted of armed robberies.
Mr. Giuliani arrived in the black Yukon Denali with his lawyer, Robert Costello, and Vernon Jones, a Trump supporter in Georgia who has voiced the baseless suggestion that Mr. Trump won in 2020.
Asked what he expected to talk about, Mr. “They’ll ask questions and we’ll see,” Giuliani told reporters outside court.
Fulton County District Attorney Fannie D. Willis asked the FBI to provide additional security at the downtown courthouse, Mr. After Trump called lawyers like him “evil, horrible people.”
Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers fought to keep him from moving to Atlanta. Instead, they offered to have him appear by video conference and argued that he was too weak to travel by plane after having a pair of cardiac stents inserted in early July. But Judge Robert CI McBurney ruled last week that Mr. Giuliani can always travel by “train, bus or Uber.” On Monday, Mr. Giuliani’s attorney declined to say how his client planned to get from New York to Atlanta.
Mr. Giuliani, Mr. He’s not the only high-ranking member of Trump’s team who isn’t thrilled about his appearance in Georgia, which prosecutors call “a multi-state, coordinated scheme to influence the Trump campaign’s results.” November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.
Senator Lindsey Graham was ordered by a federal judge on Monday to appear before a special grand jury, Mr. South Carolina Republican Mr. Graham said he would take the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, arguing that his status as a senator shields him from testifying under the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause.
“This weaponization of the law must stop,” Mr. Graham said in a statement. “So I will use the court. We’ll go as far as we can, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure people like me can do our jobs without fear of district attorneys coming after you.
Two other lawyers on the Trump team, Jenna Ellis of Colorado and John Eastman of New Mexico, were scheduled to go on trial in their home states after Ms. Willis’ office filed “petitions to testify” against them. Such motions are usually filed only when a potential witness refuses to testify or is inaccessible to prosecutors.
On Tuesday Mrs. At Ellis’ trial, a court in Colorado ordered him to appear and testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta on August 25.
78 year old Mr. It is unlikely that Giuliani will speak much to the grand jury when he is called to testify behind closed doors. Atlanta attorney Michael J., who served as U.S. attorney in Georgia. “At this point, I can’t imagine him cooperating,” Moore said. “He has a lot of options he can take.” One is to say that he cannot answer questions because of attorney-client privilege. Another is that because he’s been identified as a target, he’s going to invoke the Fifth Amendment.
Still, Ms. Willis has said the visit could be useful for prosecutors leading the Georgia investigation, which could lead to fraud or conspiracy charges against many of the defendants.
Mr. While it’s unclear what charges Giuliani may face, witnesses who have gone before the grand jury have said jurors are particularly interested in his two appearances before state legislative committees in December 2020. False reports of electoral malpractices.
Unlike a trial jury, which is instructed not to make any inferences about a criminal defendant’s silence, a grand jury is allowed to make its own decisions when witnesses or targets invoke their Fifth Amendment rights to refuse to answer questions. (A special grand jury in Georgia cannot indict anyone; its job is to write a report on whether jurors believe crimes have been committed. A regular grand jury can issue an indictment based on the special jury’s report.)
Senior Atlanta trial attorney Page Pate said that because of the “felony fraud exception,” Mr. Attorneys may try to argue to the judge that the attorney-client privilege does not apply to some of the questions asked of Giuliani, he said. Basically it says that lawyers can’t be protected from testifying if they helped their clients commit a crime.
Mr. While Mr. Giuliani succeeded in dodging questions most of the time, Mr. Mr. Trump said important information about the plan’s intent to reverse Trump’s election defeat could still be revealed during the course of the questioning. Pate said.
“Why not roast him and see what happens?” Mr. Pate said.
Outside the grand jury room, Mr. Giuliani was speaking. In an interview Monday with the far-right news channel Newsmax, he said the Fulton County investigation was “an affront to the Sixth Amendment,” which guarantees a public hearing and the right to a lawyer.
“I was his lawyer in that case,” said Mr. Giuliani said, Mr. Addresses his concerns about Trump and the election results. “The statements I made were attorney-client privileged because they were between me and him, or they were made on his behalf in his defense.”
In all, 18 people have been identified as targets of the investigation, including 16 pro-Trump “alternative voters” in Georgia who were sworn in on the same day as the state’s formal presidential electors. On Tuesday afternoon, 11 surrogates launched an effort to disqualify Ms. Willis and her office from handling the case — an effort linked to Ms. Willis. Previous disqualification From part of the investigation.
In July, Judge McBurney blocked a criminal case against Georgia state senator Burt Jones, a Trump ally and surrogate, citing a conflict of interest — namely, Ms. Willis, a Democrat, gave a title. In the contest for the post of lieutenant governor, Mr. A fundraiser for a fellow Democrat running against Jones.
Judge McBurney, Mr. He ruled that the decision to bring charges against Jones should be left to another prosecutor’s office.
On Tuesday, a lawyer for 11 disabled people called for Ms. Willis and her office to be disqualified from the entire process, or at least 11 voters would disqualify Mr. He also asked the court to be a part of the “carve out” action affecting Jones. All of the voters “have significant roles” in the state Republican Party, and most of them support Mr. Trump for lieutenant governor. supported Jones’s campaign.
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