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Rudy Giuliani to Testify in GA Probe   08/17 06:11

   

   ATLANTA (AP) -- Rudy Giuliani is scheduled to appear in an Atlanta 
courthouse to testify before a special grand jury that is investigating 
attempts by former President Donald Trump and others to overturn his 2020 
election defeat in Georgia.

   It's unclear how much the former New York mayor and attorney for Trump will 
be willing to say now that his lawyers have been informed he's a target of the 
investigation. Questioning will take place behind closed doors Wednesday 
because the special grand jury proceedings are secret.

   Yet Giuliani's appearance is another high-profile step in a rapidly 
escalating investigation that has ensnared several Trump allies and brought 
heightened scrutiny to the desperate and ultimately failed efforts to overturn 
Democrat Joe Biden's 2020 election win. It's one of several investigations into 
Trump's actions in office as he lays the groundwork for another run at the 
White House in 2024.

   Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened her investigation after 
the disclosure of a remarkable Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and 
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. On the call, Trump suggested 
that Raffensperger could "find" the exact number of votes that would be needed 
to flip the election results in Georgia.

   Trump has denied any wrongdoing. He has described the call as "perfect."

   Willis last month filed petitions to compel testimony from seven Trump 
associates and advisers. She has also said she's considering calling Trump 
himself to testify, and the former president has hired a legal team in Atlanta 
that includes a prominent criminal defense attorney.

   In seeking Giuliani's testimony, Willis noted that he was both a personal 
attorney for Trump and a lead attorney for his 2020 campaign.

   She recalled in a petition how Giuliani and others appeared at a state 
Senate committee meeting in late 2020 and presented a video that Giuliani said 
showed election workers producing "suitcases" of unlawful ballots from unknown 
sources, outside the view of election poll watchers. The claims of fraud were 
debunked by Georgia election officials within 24 hours. Yet Giuliani continued 
to make statements to the public and in subsequent legislative hearings 
claiming widespread election fraud using the debunked video, Willis noted in 
her filing.

   Two of the election workers seen in the video, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea 
"Shaye" Moss, said they faced relentless harassment online and in person after 
it was shown at the Dec. 3 Georgia legislative hearing in which Giuliani 
appeared. At another hearing a week later, Giuliani said the footage showed the 
women "surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin 
or cocaine." They actually were passing a piece of candy.

   Willis wrote in the court filing 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."

   Willis also wrote in a petition seeking the testimony of attorney Kenneth 
Chesebro that he worked with Giuliani to coordinate and carry out a plan to 
have Georgia Republicans serve as fake electors. Those 16 people signed a 
certificate declaring falsely that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election 
and declaring themselves the state's "duly elected and qualified" electors even 
though Biden had won the state and a slate of Democratic electors was certified.

   Giuliani's attorneys tried to delay his appearance before the special grand 
jury, saying he was unable to fly due to heart stent surgery in early July.

   But Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who's overseeing the 
special grand jury, said during a hearing last week that Giuliani needed to be 
in Atlanta on Wednesday and could travel by bus, car or train if necessary.

   Other Trump allies have also been swept up in the probe. Sen. Lindsey 
Graham, a South Carolina Republican, received a subpoena ordering him to appear 
for testimony on Aug. 23. Graham has challenged that subpoena, citing his 
protections as a member of Congress. A judge on Monday rejected that argument 
and said he must testify. Graham has said he'll appeal.

   Willis has indicated she is interested in calls between Graham and 
Raffensberger about the results in Georgia in the weeks after the election.

 
 
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