Subpoenas in Georgia against Giuliani’s team are bad news for Trump

One of the biggest legal threats to former President Donald Trump since leaving office has been ongoing criminal investigations in Georgia. That danger only increased Tuesday when a series of subpoenas for Trump allies to testify before a special grand jury were released.

The courts late last month granted Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ request to subpoena eight witnesses to Trump’s attempts to reverse the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. Six of those eight subpoenas are aimed at attorneys who have worked with the Trump campaign, the former president himself, or both. Significantly, all of her campaign connections only began after Election Day and Trump’s apparent loss to Joe Biden. All but one, that is: Rudy Giuliani.

According to testimony before the Jan. 6 House Committee, it was an allegedly drunk Giuliani who urged Trump to go out and declare that he had won on election night even as the results were still being tallied. It was Giuliani who pointed to the many failed court cases that attempted to void the election in several states. And it was Giuliani who coordinated a group of fake voters to cast votes for Trump in hopes of getting Congress, state legislatures, or both, to invalidate Biden’s victory.

There is already ample evidence from the Jan. 6 committee public hearings that Trump likely solicited voter fraud in Georgia. Much of this effort was undertaken with the help of Giuliani and the legal team he arranged. It is fitting that the same band of misfits is now poised to help Georgia prosecutors plead the case that Trump’s attempt to remain in power violated state law.

Georgia was a prime target of Trump’s post-election anger and a prime subject for voter fraud conspiracy theories. Giuliani himself helped spread such a rumor during an appearance before the Georgia Senate on December 3, 2020 along with campaign attorneys Jacki Deason and Jenna Ellis. As the court order documented, Giuliani showed the senators “video footage of poll workers at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta allegedly showing poll workers making “cases” of illegal ballots from unknown sources, out of sight of poll observers.”

As the subpoena for Deason states, she “personally presented and narrated select portions of the State Farm video to members of the Georgia State Senate.” That video was quickly debunked, but Deason, Giuliani, and Ellis continued to spread the rumor despite the damage it did to poll worker Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman. (Moss testified about her experience at the Jan. 6 House Committee hearing on last month’s state pressure campaign on the Trump campaign, which Freeman also attended.)

Subpoenas in Georgia against Giuliani’s team are bad news for Trump

The court, in issuing subpoenas to the three Trump campaign employees, ruled that “evidence exists that the witness’ appearance and testimony at the hearing was part of a multi-state coordinated Trump campaign plan to validate the findings.” of the November 2020 elections to influence Georgia and elsewhere.”

Attorneys Cleta Mitchell and John Eastman have also been asked to testify about their work behind the scenes of Trump’s post-election plans. Mitchell could be heard in the room with Trump during his now infamous phone call with Georgia Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger. She is now being forced to testify about her work in Georgia ahead of that exchange, as Trump persuaded Raffensperger to simply “find 11,780 votes” needed for him to win the state.

Meanwhile, Eastman has emerged as the lead author of a conspiracy for Vice President Mike Pence to simply declare Trump the winner on January 6, 2021, or throw the decision back to state legislatures. One of his supporters in this scheme, Kenneth Chesebro, was also subpoenaed to testify. Chesebro’s name was largely unknown even to those who closely follow Trump’s machinations until the Jan. 6 committee revealed an email exchange between him and Eastman that speculated on the Supreme Court’s views on their theories.

This is the team that Rudy built, a collection of legal analysts and dedicated partisan fighters.

According to the subpoena, Chesebro worked with the local Republican Party to rally 16 fake voters to cast their (unofficial) votes for Trump. Those votes under Eastman’s plan would then be sent to Pence and used as justification to either effectively steal Georgia’s electoral votes or justify enough confusion to return the matter to the Republican-led legislature. The court, in granting Willis’ request for a subpoena, noted that Chesebro “has indicated in communications to the Georgia Republican Party that he worked directly with Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani in the coordination and execution of the plan.” would have”.

This is the team that Rudy built, a collection of fringe legal professionals and dedicated partisan fighters. They all fully supported Trump’s worst instincts, even as others on the campaign trail and in the White House tried to hold them back. Each has been ordered to appear before the Georgia grand jury this month and remain there until the end of August or until prosecutors have finished with them, whichever comes first.

Some of them may try to evade the subpoenas, Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., has announced. Some may invoke the Fifth Amendment, as Eastman did 100 times when he appeared before the January 6 committee. But I doubt that all, or even most, will avoid divulging their knowledge under oath to the assembled members of the grand jury. I look forward to seeing which of them will find their words in an indictment against Trump as the grand jury wraps up its work.