Several allies and members of former US President Donald Trump’s legal team, including Senator Lindsey Graham and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, have been subpoenaed to testify before a special Georgia state grand jury.
The subpoenas were approved Tuesday by a judge overseeing the jury.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sought the subpoenas as part of an investigation into what she called a “multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” according to court documents .
Willis also filed petitions for several other figures to appear as witnesses, including attorneys Kenneth Chesebro, Cleta Mitchell, Jenna Ellis, and John Eastman. All have been approved.
The special panel elected in May examined efforts by Trump and his allies to remain in power after the former president lost the 2020 election to his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Trump continues to insist the election was stolen, though numerous federal and local officials, a long list of courts, senior former campaign officials and even Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no evidence of the fraud he alleges.
The subpoenas for some of Trump’s closest allies and advisers mark a significant escalation in a case that could present the former president with serious legal challenge as he weighs another White House run.
“That means the investigation is obviously getting more intense because they’re dealing with trusted advisors, these are inner-circle people,” said Robert James, a former district attorney in DeKalb County, which borders Fulton.
Willis, who requested the formation of the special grand jury earlier this year, has confirmed that she and her team are investigating a January 2021 phone call in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes ‘ that the President needed Win the State of Georgia.
Willis also addresses a November 2020 phone call between Raffensperger and Graham, the resignation of a US attorney in Atlanta in early January 2021, and comments from the Georgia Legislative Committee hearings in December 2020 on the election.
In a petition, Willis wrote that Senator Graham made at least two calls to Raffensperger and his staff after the November 2020 election, in which Graham allegedly asked for a re-examination of the absentee ballot “to consider the possibility of a more favorable outcome for the former president.” examine Donald Trump”.
Graham has yet to comment on the claims.
Raffensperger and other state officials have already testified before the special jury.
Willis also identified in the petition former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as “lead counsel for the Trump campaign’s legal efforts aimed at influencing the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”
Willis wrote that as part of that effort, Giuliani appeared at a Georgia Senate subcommittee hearing on December 3, 2020 and “provided testimony, additional witnesses and documentary evidence allegedly supporting the existence of voter fraud in multiple counties of Georgia.” None of these claims have been substantiated.
As evidence, Giuliani shared a since-discredited conspiracy that claimed several poll workers manufactured “suitcases” containing illicit ballots from unknown sources. Raffensperger’s office debunked that claim less than 24 hours after it was shown by Giuliani and said it found no evidence of voter fraud. Giuliani nevertheless pushed the conspiracy further.
“There is evidence that (Giuliani’s) appearance and testimony at the hearing was part of a multi-state coordinated Trump campaign plot to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” the petition reads .
Giuliani’s attorney, Bob Costello, said he had no comment, noting that no subpoena was served on Giuliani.
A special grand jury, or special purpose grand jury, is specifically appointed to investigate any alleged violation of Georgia state law.
It is not known what charges Willis could bring against Trump or his allies.
In a letter to Georgia state officials last year, Willis said she was “investigating potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting solicitation of voter fraud, providing false information to state and local government agencies, conspiracy, extortion, violation of the oath of office, and any Engaging in violence or threats related to electoral administration”.