Rudy Giuliani ordered to testify before Georgia grand jury ｜ Sen. Graham and Rep. Hice challenge subpoenas
Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was ordered to testify before the Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury that’s investigating whether the former president tried to interfere in the 2020 general election.
The panel has heard testimony from at least four witnesses, three of whom were present in Atlanta when Giuliani and Trump associates shared conspiracy theories of voter fraud in the election, regarding Giuliani’s activities. After Giuliani failed to show for a hearing in New York, Judge Robert C. I. McBurney of the Superior Court of Fulton County ordered him to appear before the Georgia grand jury on August 9.
A judge in Georgia initially signed off on Willis’ efforts to subpoena Giuliani earlier this month. Because Giuliani is a New York resident, his summons was moved to a court there, where a New York judge scheduled a hearing giving Giuliani an opportunity to quash the summons. When the former Trump lawyer didn’t show, the New York judge signed off on the order for Giuliani’s testimony.
Two congressmen have been subpoenaed by the Fulton County grand jury: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA). Both are challenging the subpoenas, with hearings coming up in the next week.
Graham is under DA Fani Willis’ scrutiny due to phone calls he made to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger shortly after the 2020 election. According to Raffensperger, Graham suggested that he find a way to toss legally cast ballots in counties found to have higher rates of nonmatching signatures.
“The main issue for me is: How do you protect the integrity of mail-in voting, and how does signature verification work?” [Graham] said.
“If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem,” Graham added. “I actually thought it was a good conversation.”
Rep. Hice unsuccessfully challenged Raffensperger in this year’s primary for Secretary of State. He took part in a December 2020 meeting at the White House in which Trump allies discussed various ways to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral win and discussed the effort to appoint an alternate slate of electors.
Both Hice and Graham argue that the Constitution’s “Speech or Debate” clause, which protects Congress members from lawsuits over legislative speech, prevents them from being subpoenaed. However, Willis contends that the lawmakers were not acting in their official capacity by pressuring Raffensperger and spreading unfounded voter fraud claims.
Willis also informed 16 Trump supporters who formed an alternate slate of 2020 presidential electors that they are “targets” of her investigation. The group includes Georgia Republican Party Chair David J. Shafer, candidate for lieutenant governor Burt Jones, and state senator Brandon Beach.
Lawyers for 11 of those 16 Republicans, including Shafer, said in a new court filing that their clients received grand-jury subpoenas on June 1, then were notified in late June that they were considered targets of the investigation instead of witnesses. They argue in the filing that the subpoenas are “unreasonable and oppressive” and the electors will invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination after advice from legal counsel. They deemed the new designation “a publicity stunt.”
In the filing, the electors alleged they were unaware of the broader legal effort by Trump’s legal team, including Rudolph W. Giuliani and John Eastman, to use the slate of “alternate electors” to help contest the 2020 presidential election results. They further contend that prosecutors’ investigation is “political interference” resulting from “local passion and prejudice.”