Fulton grand jury subpoenas Giuliani, Graham and Trump confidants

Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, testified before Georgia lawmakers three times in late 2020. His comments, which became a major interest for the special grand jury, were filled with sensationalist claims and dozens of conspiracy theories. of thousands of people voting illegally and rigged voting machines that were quickly debunked by state authorities or thrown out of court. He was suspended from practicing law in New York in June 2021 in part because of his testimony in Georgia.

Eastman, a former law professor, was a key architect of the plan to pressure Vice President Mike Pence into rejecting official Democratic voters in Georgia and other swing states and opting for a GOP alternate voters list. A federal judge in March argued that “it is more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. Eastman dishonestly conspired to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”

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Eastman testified at a legislative hearing in Georgia after the election, during which he argued there was “more than enough” evidence of fraud and improper conduct to warrant lawmakers choosing an alternative slate presidential voters.

“I don’t think it’s just your authority to do that,” Eastman said, “but, quite frankly, I think you have a duty to do it to protect the integrity of the election here in Georgia.”

Mitchell, a conservative attorney based in Washington, DC, advised Trump on the infamous Jan. 2, 2021 call the Republican made to Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that conversation, in which Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes, Mitchell aided Trump as he made unsubstantiated claims about the Georgia election.

Graham separately called Raffensperger in the days following the November 2020 election and reportedly asked if the secretary of state had the authority to reject more legally cast mail-in votes to help Trump reduce his deficit in Georgia. Graham denied the allegation.

Bob Costello, Giuliani’s attorney, declined to comment and said his client had not received a subpoena. A spokesperson for Graham did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It may be difficult for Fulton’s prosecutors to obtain testimony from Giuliani, Eastman, Mitchell, Chesebro and Ellis, as they could assert solicitor-client privilege. Eastman pleaded for the exemption as he sought to block the handing over of evidence to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, despite being largely shot by a federal judge.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched the criminal probe into the Georgian election in February 2021, weeks after a recording of the Trump-Raffensperger phone call was leaked. She has since expanded the investigation to include fake GOP voters, Giuliani’s testimony to state lawmakers and other efforts to pressure Georgia officials to act on Trump’s behalf.

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The special grand jury is allowed to meet until May 2023, although Willis said she expects the group’s work to be completed well before then. Jurors are expected to write a report at the end of their service recommending whether Willis should press charges against Trump or his allies, although the final decision ultimately rests with Willis, a Democrat.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, several of his aides, and Attorney General Chris Carr have already testified before the grand jury. Gov. Brian Kemp, who pushed back against Trump’s push to call a special session of the state legislature to overturn the election results, is expected to deliver a video statement later this month.

Willis is currently battling with at least two current and former Republican officials in Georgia over subpoenas. Lawyers for Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and the ex-sen. William Ligon argued last week that the state Constitution bars them from testifying about anything related to their legislative activities.

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The district attorney’s office argues that activities aimed at nullifying certified election results are not protected by so-called statutory immunity.

“In cases of dishonesty or misinformation, members should be subject to special purpose grand jury questioning,” the DA wrote in a recent court filing.

McBurney, who has heard arguments from the prosecutor’s office and lawmakers, is currently drafting a framework on the types of questions prosecutors can ask without violating immunity rules.

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