The 23-member special grand jury has heard testimony from a parade of witnesses in recent weeks, including some who had direct contact with Trump and his associates in late 2020 and early 2021. But Tuesday’s subpoenas are the jurors closest to the Trump campaign or the former president’s inner circle.
Giuliani testified before Georgian lawmakers in late 2020, showing edited surveillance video of ballots being tabulated at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. The former New York City mayor said the tape was a “powerful smoking gun” of election workers pulling out “suitcases” of ballot papers for counting after sending Republican pollsters home.
Giuliani’s claims were quickly debunked by the secretary of state’s office, but he continued to screen the video, doubling down on his comments in the weeks that followed. He was later suspended from practicing law in New York, in part because of his testimony in Georgia.
Eastman, a former law professor, was a key architect of the plan to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject official Democratic voters in Georgia and other swing states and opt for an alternate GOP list. voters. A federal judge argued in March that “it is more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. Eastman colluded unfairly to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”
Eastman testified at the same Georgia hearing as Giuliani, arguing that there was “more than enough” evidence of fraud and inappropriate behavior to justify Georgian lawmakers choosing an alternate list of presidential voters.
“I don’t think it’s just your authority to do that,” Eastman said, “but frankly, I think you have a duty to do that to protect the integrity of the election here in Georgia.”
Deason and Ellis also spoke at the same hearing.
According to his subpoena, Cheseboro was working with the Georgian GOP leadership to coordinate a list of alternative Republican voters. The district attorney’s office said Cheseboro had prepared at least two memos in support of the plan and provided a template of documents to the party for the sham ceremony at the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020.
Mitchell, a conservative attorney based in Washington, DC, advised Trump on the infamous January 2, 2021 appeal the Republican placed to Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that conversation, in which Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes, Mitchell helped Trump make unsubstantiated claims about the Georgia election.
Graham has separately called Raffensperger and his staff twice in the weeks following the November 2020 election “about the re-examination of certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” allegations were made. his subpoena. Graham previously denied wrongdoing.
It may be difficult for Fulton prosecutors to coerce testimonials from Giuliani, Eastman, Mitchell, Chesebro, Deason and Ellis, as they could argue for attorney and client privilege. Eastman claimed the exemption because he wanted to block the transfer of evidence to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, even though he was largely shot by a federal judge.
Bob Costello, Giuliani’s attorney, declined to comment, saying his client had not received a subpoena. A Graham spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fulton County DA Fani Willis launched the criminal investigation into the February 2021 Georgia election, weeks after a recording of the Trump-Raffensperger phone call was leaked. She has since expanded the investigation to include fake GOP voters, Giuliani’s testimony to state lawmakers, and other attempts to pressure Georgian officials to act in Trump’s favor.
The special grand jury has permission to meet until May 2023, although Willis said she expects the group’s work to be completed well before then. Jurors are expected to produce a report at the end of their shift recommending whether Willis should press charges against Trump or his allies, though the ultimate decision rests with the DA, a 2020 Democrat elected.
Raffensperger, several of his deputies and Attorney General Chris Carr have already testified before the grand jury. Gov. Brian Kemp, who rejected pressure from Trump to call a special session of the state legislature to reverse the election results, will make a video statement later this month.
Willis is currently battling at least two current and former Republican officials in Georgia over subpoenas. Lawyers for Lt. gov. Geoff Duncan and ex-Sen. William Ligon argued last week that the state constitution prevents them from testifying about anything to do with their legislative activities.
The prosecutor’s office objected that activities aimed at undoing certified election results are not protected by so-called legislative immunity.
McBurney, who heard arguments from the prosecutor’s office and lawmakers Friday, is currently drafting a framework about the kinds of questions prosecutors can ask without violating immunity rules.
Trump allies subpoenaed on July 5†
Rudy Giuliani: Trump’s personal attorney who testified before the Georgia Senate panel in December 2020.
John Eastman: Lawyer and architect of “alternative” electoral system.
Cleta Mitchell: Attorney present at Trump’s January 2021 phone call with Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Kenneth Chesebro: Attorney who partnered with Georgia GOP to coordinate December 2020 “alternative” voters
Jenna Ellis: Attorney who testified in Georgia Senate about voter fraud.
Jacki Pick Deason: Attorney and podcast host; testified before the state legislature about voter fraud.
Lindsey Graham: US Senator from South Carolina who called Raffensperger and his staff twice about re-examining some absentee ballots in Georgia.