Fulton grand jury subpoenas Giuliani, Graham, Trump confidantes

Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, testified before Georgia legislators on three separate occasions in late 2020. His comments, which have become a major interest to the special grand jury, were filled with sensationalist claims and conspiracy theories about tens of thousands of people voting illegally and rigged voting machines that were quickly debunked by state authorities or rejected in the courts. 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 press Vice President Mike Pence to reject the official Democratic electors in Georgia and other swing states and opt for an alternative slate of GOP electors. 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 tested at a Georgia legislative hearing after the election, during which he argued that there was “more than enough” evidence of fraud and improper conduct to warrant lawmakers picking an alternative slate of presidential electors.

“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 that to protect the integrity of the election here in Georgia.”

Mitchell, a conservative lawyer based in Washington, DC, advised Trump on the infamous Jan. 2, 2021, call that the Republican placed to Georgia 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 Georgia’s elections.

Graham separately called Raffensperger in the days following the November 2020 elections and allegedly questioned whether the secretary of state had the power to reject more legally cast absentee ballots to help Trump narrow his deficit in Georgia. Graham denied the allegation.

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

It may be difficult for Fulton prosecutors to secure testimony from Giuliani, Eastman, Mitchell, Chesebro and Ellis, since they could argue attorney-client privilege. Eastman argued for the exemption as he sought to block the handover of evidence to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, though he was largely shot down by a federal judge.

Fulton County DA Fani Willis launched the criminal probe into Georgia’s elections in February 2021, weeks after a recording of the Trump-Raffensperger phone call leaked. She’s since expanded the investigation to include the fake GOP electors, Giuliani’s testimony to state legislators and other efforts to pressure Georgia officials to act in Trump’s favor.

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The special grand jury has permission to meet until May 2023, though Willis said she’s expecting the group’s work to wrap up long before then. Jurors are expected to draft a report at the end of their service recommending whether Willis should press charges against Trump or his allies, though the final decision ultimately rests with Willis, a Democrat.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, several of his deputies and Attorney General Chris Carr have already tested before the grand jury. gov. Brian Kemp, who rebuffed pressure from Trump to call a special session of the state legislature to reverse the election results, is slated to give a video statement later this month.

Willis is currently fighting with at least two current and former Republican officials in Georgia over subpoenas. Attorneys for Lt. gov. Geoff Duncan and ex-Sen. William Ligon argued last week that the state Constitution shields them from testing about anything related to their legislative activities.

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The District Attorney’s office argues that activities that seek to reverse certified election results are not protected by so-called legislative immunity.

“Where dishonesty or misinformation was the result, Members should be subject to questioning by the special purpose grand jury,” the DA wrote in a recent court filing.

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

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