Trump’s former lawyer Giuliani probed over ‘attempts to interfere’ in 2020 election result

US News

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is the target of a criminal investigation into possible illegal attempts to interfere in the 2020 election result in Georgia.

Mr Giuliani’s lawyer said on Monday the special prosecutor in Atlanta had sent a notification that the former New York mayor is being investigated by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

It is the latest step in a probe that edges closer to former president Mr Trump.

Ms Willis has said she is considering calling Mr Trump himself to testify before the special grand jury.

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This is all separate from the federal investigation of Mr Trump and the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Mr Giuliani is scheduled to testify on Wednesday before a special grand jury in Fulton County, encompassing most of Atlanta, after a judge ordered him to comply with a subpoena.

During a daily talk show he hosts on WABC radio in New York, Mr Giuliani claimed the investigation is politically motivated and said, without elaborating, that Atlanta is “well known for corruption”.

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Mr Giuliani’s lawyer Robert Costello has said his client will refuse to answer any questions about Mr Trump that would violate attorney-client privilege.

Mr Giuliani appeared before Georgia state politicians in December 2020 and echoed Mr Trump’s false conspiracy theories about stolen ballots.

He also urged them not to certify Democrat President Joe Biden’s victory.

The Fulton County probe began after a January 2021 recorded phone call in which Mr Trump urged the state’s top election official to “find” enough votes to alter the outcome.

Rudy Giuliani at a news conference in the days after the 2020 US election result
Image:
Rudy Giuliani at a news conference in the days after the 2020 US election result. Pic: AP

The former president has repeatedly asserted falsely that he won Georgia as well as the 2020 presidential contest.

The special grand jury was convened in May at the request of Ms Willis, in part due to its subpoena power.

Mr Giuliani, a former crime-fighting US attorney, was among several Trump advisers and lawyers who received subpoenas from the grand jury last month, including US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

A federal judge on Monday ruled that Mr Graham, a close ally of the former president, must testify before the grand jury about phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – who also received Mr Trump’s January 2021 call.

“The court finds that the district attorney has shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator
Graham’s testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2022 elections,” US District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in an order.

In a statement, Mr Graham said the phone calls were undertaken as part of his constitutionally protected legislative
duties and that he would appeal the decision.

In court filings, prosecutors have said Mr Graham explored the possibility of re-examining absentee ballots in calls that
“certainly appear interconnected” with Mr Trump’s efforts to reverse the election outcome.

Read more:
Shop worker held by police after ex-Trump lawyer Giuliani is ‘slapped on the back’
Giuliani’s law licence suspended in New York after ‘uncontroverted evidence’ he made false statements
Giuliani among Trump allies subpoenaed by committee investigating 6 January 2021 attack

It comes as Mr Trump is a facing a series of probes into his conduct.

In addition to the Georgia case, a congressional panel is investigating his involvement in the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

Last week, the FBI seized classified documents from his Florida estate that he was suspected of removing from the White House.

A search warrant released publicly on Friday said federal authorities were investigating possible violations of the Espionage Act, among other laws.

In New York, the attorney general’s office and the Manhattan district attorney’s office are conducting parallel civil and
criminal investigations into whether Mr Trump improperly inflated the value of his businesses.

Mr Trump refused to answer questions from the New York attorney general’s office last week, citing his constitutional right not to incriminate himself.

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