Giuliani faces possible criminal investigation for illegal attempts to reverse 2020 vote – India Times English News

ATLANTA (AP) — Rudy Giuliani is a target of a criminal investigation into possible illegal attempts by then-President Donald Trump and others to interfere with the 2020 general election in Georgia, prosecutors informed attorneys for the former New York mayor on Monday.

The revelation that Giuliani, a vocal defender of Trump, could face criminal charges from an investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, brings the investigation closer to the former president. Willis has said she is considering calling on Trump herself to testify before a special grand jury, and the former president has hired a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta.

Trump’s law enforcement investigation has increased dramatically. Last week, the FBI searched his Florida home as part of its investigation into whether he had taken classified records from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. He is also facing a civil investigation in New York alleging that his company, the Trump Organization, misled banks and tax officials about the value of his assets.

And the Justice Department is investigating a January 6 rebellion at the US Capitol by Trump supporters as well as attempts by him and his allies to reverse the election, which they falsely claimed were stolen. Was.

Giuliani, who has spread false claims of electoral fraud in Atlanta’s Fulton County while leading election-challenging efforts in Georgia, is to testify Wednesday before a special grand jury that was paneled at Willis’ request. Giuliani’s lawyer declined to say whether or not he would answer questions.

Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade alerted Giuliani’s team in Atlanta that he was an investigative target, Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, said Monday. This revelation was first reported by The New York Times.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping on the legal challenges to counting votes in Pennsylvania on Saturday, November 7, 2020 in Philadelphia.

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

Willis was investigated by a phone call between Trump and Raffensperger. During that January 2021 conversation, Trump suggested that Riffensperger “find” the votes needed to reverse his narrow loss in the state.

Willis filed petitions last month seeking to compel seven Trump aides and advisers to testify.

Seeking Giuliani’s testimony, Willis identified him as both a personal advocate for Trump and a key advocate for his campaign. He wrote that he and others appeared at a state Senate committee meeting and presented a video that Giuliani said showed election workers producing a “suitcase” of illegal ballots from undisclosed sources, out of sight of election observers. Is.

Within 24 hours of that December 3, 2020 hearing, Raffensperger’s office had dismissed the video. But Giuliani continued to make statements to the public and at subsequent legislative hearings claiming widespread voter fraud using debunked videos, Willis wrote.

Evidence suggests that 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 states. .

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Riffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta on November 11, 2020. (AP/Brian Anderson)

Two election activists who appeared in the video, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shay” Moss, said they faced constant harassment online and in person after being shown at a Georgia legislative hearing on December 3, where Giuliani appeared. At another hearing a week later, Giuliani said footage showed women “secretly passing around USB ports as if they were vials of heroin or cocaine.” They were actually passing a piece of candy.

Willis wrote in a petition seeking the testimony of attorney Kenneth Chesebro that he worked with Giuliani to coordinate and plan to serve as fake voters to Georgia Republicans. Those 16 people signed a certificate falsely declaring that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and declaring himself a “duly elected and qualified” voter of the state, even though Joe Biden had won the state and A slate of Democratic voters was attested.

Willis said in a court filing last month that all 16 of those fake voters had received letters saying they were the target of investigation.

As for Graham, lawyers for the South Carolina Republican have argued that his status as a US senator exempts him from appearing before the investigative panel. But US District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in an order Monday that immunities related to her role as a senator do not protect her from testifying. Graham’s subpoena directed him to appear before a special grand jury on August 23, but his office said Monday he plans to appeal.

Former Georgia election activist, Wandrea “Shay” Moss, is comforted by her mother Ruby Freeman, right, as the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol holds a June 21 hearing at the Capitol in Washington . 2022. Mother and daughter who were election workers in Georgia brought great relief to their sense of danger. He testified that he was too afraid to publicly say his name after Trump falsely accused him of voter fraud. (AP/Jacqueline Martin)

Last month, May rejected a similar attempt by US Representative Jody Haise, R-Ga., to avoid testifying before a special grand jury.

Graham’s office said in a statement Monday that senators disagree with the judge’s interpretation of the Constitution’s provision they believe protects them from questioning by a state official. His lawyers have said he was conducting inquiries that were part of his legislative duties, relating to the validation of the vote and the proposal for legislation relating to elections.

But the judge wrote that it “ignores the fact that individuals on the call have publicly suggested that Senator Graham was not merely involved in legislative fact-finding but instead that Georgia election officials change their procedures or otherwise potentially subtly change the outcome of the state.”

In a call made shortly after the 2020 general election, Graham called for “reexamining some absentee ballots cast in Georgia to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a petition. inquired about the referendum and his staff.

Senator Lindsey Graham waits to speak to reporters at the US Capitol on February 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Jay Scott Applewhite/AP)

Graham also made reference to allegations of “widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia, consistent with public statements made by known aides of the Trump campaign,” she wrote.

Republican and Democratic state election officials, courts and even Trump’s attorney general across the country have found that no evidence of voter fraud was sufficient to influence the outcome of his 2020 presidential election loss. .

Trump-allied lawmakers were planning to challenge the height of several battleground states when Congress called on January 6, 2021 to certify results under the Electoral Counts Act, but that day after the Capitol attack on Georgia’s The rally was never contested.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called his call to Raffensperger “correct.”