When we last checked in with Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor had just been sued by his third ex-wife, who reportedly claimed in a sworn affidavit that he owed her more than $260,000 and whose lawyers threatened Giuliani with jail time. “Your failure to appear in court may result in immediate arrest or imprisonment,” the attorneys wrote to the Giuliani, arguing that he should be found in contempt of court for refusing to make the payments, Page Six reported at the time. Obviously, that wasn’t great news for the man once known as “America’s mayor,” particularly the bit about him potentially spending time behind bars. But worse? The revelation that he’s now under criminal investigation for election fraud in Georgia, for which he could serve even more time in prison.
On Monday, a lawyer for Giuliani reported that the former mayor turned Donald Trump attorney is a target of a criminal investigation into election interference in Georgia. According to The New York Times, earlier this summer, Fulton County prosecutors questioned witnesses before a special grand jury regarding Giuliani’s December 2020 appearances in front of state legislative panels, during which he “spent hours peddling false conspiracy theories about secret suitcases of Democratic ballots and corrupted voting machines.” Giuliani is scheduled to testify before the special grand jury on Wednesday, though his lawyer Robert Costello told the outlet that he’s likely to hide behind attorney-client privilege if asked about the former president. “If these people think he’s going to talk about conversations between him and President Trump, they’re delusional,” Costello said.
While Giuliani was already on a clear downward trajectory during the Trump administration years, his actions during those years paled in comparison—in terms of how batshit fucking crazy they was—to what the former mayor got into after Trump lost the presidency to Joe Biden. Setting aside the press conference he held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping and Hair-dye-gate, Giuliani’s various efforts to help the ex-president overturn the results of the 2020 election included a scam to create a slate of fake electors; baseless, completely absurd lies about nonexistent election fraud; and a call for “trial by combat” at the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol. Currently, he’s being sued for billions of dollars over defamation claims made by voting-machine companies Dominion and Smartmatic. Last year, a New York State appellate court suspended his law license for lying about the election, including for his “numerous false and misleading statements regarding the Georgia presidential election results.” Attorneys for Giuliani have, naturally, insisted he did nothing wrong. A spokesman for the Fulton County district attorney’s office declined the Times’ request for comment. Fani Willis, the district attorney, has previously said that her investigation could lead to racketeering or conspiracy charges for multiple defendants, the Times notes.
Incidentally, Giuliani isn’t the only Trump pal on Willis’s radar. On Monday, a federal judge rejected an effort by Senator Lindsey Graham to avoid testifying before the Atlanta special grand jury, saying prosecutors had met the “extraordinary circumstances” threshold that Graham’s lawyers argued were required for the senator to provide testimony. Prosecutors’ interest in hearing from Graham reportedly relates, in part, to a November 2020 call with Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who has alleged that Graham had asked him if he had the power to throw out mail-in ballots from certain counties. Graham has absurdly argued that his calls to Raffensperger—there were two of them—were related to his then position as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. But as federal district court judge Leigh Martin May noted on Monday, “individuals on the calls have publicly suggested that Senator Graham was not simply engaged in legislative fact-finding” and was instead “seeking to influence Secretary Raffensperger’s actions” to help out Trump.
Back in May, Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, told MSNBC that Willis had damning evidence on her hands re: Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 Georgia vote. Noting that in order to indict the former president, Willis needs “proof of the former president’s state of mind,” Vance argued that the Georgia DA may have just that, thanks to a recording of a phone call that took place on January 2, 2021, ahead of the official vote certification, in which Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find” him the exact number of votes necessary to win the state, despite the fact that he had actually lost. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state,” Trump told Raffensperger, before threatening to prosecute the local official for failing to follow through. That the then president was asking Raffensperger to “find him the specific number of votes that he needs,” Vance argued, is “pretty good evidence of criminal intent walking into it.” While Willis’s probe was initially launched in response to that very shady phone call, the investigation had since crept into the realm of possible racketeering and fraud. An analysis by the Brookings Institution released last year concluded that Trump’s actions put him at “substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes,” including “criminal solicitation to commit election fraud; intentional interference with performance of election duties; conspiracy to commit election fraud; criminal solicitation; and state RICO violations.”