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Giuliani is a target of Georgia grand jury criminal probe, his lawyer says

CBS News 8/15/2022 Graham Kates
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani © Spencer Platt/Getty Images Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a target of criminal investigation as a Georgia grand jury investigates efforts of Donald Trump and his supporters to overturn the 2020 election, his lawyer confirmed to CBS News.

Giuliani is scheduled to appear before the special grand jury in Fulton County on Wednesday. Last week a judge there ordered him to make the trip "on train or a bus or Uber," after his attorneys sought to postpone the testimony, citing doctor's orders that Giuliani not fly following an early-summer heart stent operation. 

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Giuliani is described in court documents as a material witness to the investigation, but one of his attorneys, Robert Costello, said Monday that a Fulton County prosecutor called another attorney for Giuliani on Monday to update that description.

"The term they used is 'target,'" Costello said. 

He noted that many others who have been subpoenaed by the special grand jury are also considered targets, including 16 Georgia Republicans who falsely claimed to be the state's "duly elected and qualified" electors in the aftermath of Trump's loss in the state.

The New York Times first reported that Giuliani is now a target of the probe.

At a hearing on Aug. 9, another attorney for Giuliani complained that prosecutors had not yet said whether Giuliani was a target. He indicated it would influence the advice given to Giuliani before he appears on Wednesday.

"That inquiry that I have not yet received a response to will dictate certainly how counsel addresses this matter with my client. It will dictate how things go here," said William Thomas, the attorney.  

Giuliani was among Trump's closest advisers as he attempted to fight his loss in the 2020 presidential election. His work for Trump included a December 2020 appearance before the Georgia State Senate in which Giuliani made unfounded claims of fraud and misconduct among state officials. 

Prior to the Aug. 9 hearing, attorneys for Giuliani and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had sparred over claims he could not travel due to his health. But McBurney made clear that he intended to get Giuliani to appear in Atlanta.

"John Madden drove all over the country in his big bus from stadium to stadium," McBurney said, referring to the football legend who famously avoided air travel. "So one thing we need to explore is whether Mr. Giuliani could get here without jeopardizing his recovery and his health, on train or a bus or Uber, whatever it would be."

The special grand jury was empaneled in January at Willis's request. The investigation stems from a Jan. 2, 2021 phone call between Trump and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump said, "All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state."

Raffensperger is among dozens of state officials and Trump associates who have been subpoenaed since May.

Also subpoenaed in the case is South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who called Raffensperger twice after the election. A federal judge on Monday denied Graham's motion to quash the subpoena, and ordered him to appear before the special grand jury on Aug. 23.

Graham said he would appeal.

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