Giuliani is target of Georgia probe into 2020 US election - NYT

Prosecutors from the Fulton County district attorney's office in Georgia, which is overseeing the probe, informed him that Giuliani is a target, says Giuliani's lawyer.

 Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani coughs as he speaks to media about the US evacuation of Afghanistan outside his apartment building in New York City, US, August 20, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani coughs as he speaks to media about the US evacuation of Afghanistan outside his apartment building in New York City, US, August 20, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)

Lawyers for Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer who helped lead challenges to the 2020 election results, have been told that Giuliani is a target in a criminal probe examining attempts by Trump and his allies to overturn the election, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Giuliani is scheduled to appear on Wednesday before a special grand jury investigating the case, after a judge ordered him to comply with a subpoena.

His lawyer, Robert Costello, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Costello told the Times that prosecutors from the Fulton County district attorney's office in Georgia, which is overseeing the probe, informed him that Giuliani is a target, the newspaper reported.

Will Giuliani spill? 

Costello also said prosecutors were "delusional" if they expected Giuliani to talk about conversations with Trump, the Times reported, suggesting that Giuliani may assert attorney-client privilege and refuse to answer questions about his private dealings with Trump.

 Former US President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower for a deposition two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, US, August 10, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/DAVID 'DEE' DELGADO) Former US President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower for a deposition two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, US, August 10, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/DAVID 'DEE' DELGADO)

Giuliani appeared before state lawmakers in December 2020, echoing false conspiracy theories about stolen ballots and urging them not to certify Democratic President Joe Biden's victory.

The Fulton County probe began after a January 2021 recorded phone call in which Trump urged the state's top election official to "find" enough votes to alter the outcome. The former president has continued to assert falsely that he won Georgia, as well as the 2020 presidential contest.

The special grand jury was convened in May at the request of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in part due to its subpoena power.

Giuliani, a former US Attorney and the former mayor of New York City, was among several Trump advisers and lawyers who received subpoenas from the grand jury last month, including US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

A federal judge on Monday ruled that Graham, a close Trump ally, must testify before the grand jury about phone calls he made to the same official, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who received Trump's January 2021 call.

"The court finds that the District Attorney has shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham's testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia's 2022 elections," US District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in an order.

"The court finds that the District Attorney has shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham's testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia's 2022 elections."

US District Judge Leigh Martin May

In a statement, Graham repeated his argument that the phone calls were undertaken as part of his constitutionally protected legislative duties and said he would appeal the decision.

In court filings, prosecutors have said Graham explored the possibility of re-examining absentee ballots in the calls, which "certainly appear interconnected" with Trump's efforts to reverse the election outcome.

Trump faces a litany of probes into his conduct. In addition to the Georgia case, a congressional panel is investigating his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

Last week, the FBI seized classified documents from his Florida estate that he was suspected of removing from the White House. A search warrant released publicly on Friday showed the Justice Department had probable cause for the search based on possible Espionage Act violations.

In New York, the attorney general's office and the Manhattan district attorney's office are conducting parallel civil and criminal investigations into whether Trump improperly inflated the value of his businesses.

Trump refused to answer questions from the New York attorney general's office last week, citing his constitutional right not to incriminate himself.