Judge orders Giuliani to testify before Fulton grand jury

Rudy Giuliani walks to a Senate hearing at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday, December 3, 2020. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Rudy Giuliani walks to a Senate hearing at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday, December 3, 2020. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is being ordered to appear in front of a Fulton County special grand jury next month after failing to attend a hearing in New York to challenge a recent subpoena.

A court filing submitted Wednesday morning stated that Giuliani didn’t appear before New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber on July 13 to argue why the court shouldn’t honor the Georgia subpoena, technically known as a certificate of material witness.

As a result, Farber ordered Giuliani to appear and testify before the Fulton grand jury beginning on Aug. 9, “and on any such other dates as this Court may order.”

Giuliani’s lawyer Robert J. Costello did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Wednesday said she’s “grateful to the prosecutors and investigators in District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, who efficiently and effectively secured a New York court order compelling Mr. Giuliani, an important witness, to appear before the Fulton County Special Purpose Grand Jury. "

Giuliani was one of seven Trump confidantes whose subpoenas were approved by a Fulton judge earlier this month.

Many of those witnesses are expected to cite attorney-client privilege to try and block questioning. South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was also subpoenaed, has cited the U.S. Constitution’s “Speech or Debate” clause in his recent challenge.

The 23-person special grand jury, which is examining potential criminal meddling in Georgia’s 2020 elections, has indicated it’s interested in testimony Giuliani and others gave before Georgia legislators in late 2020. Giuliani screened edited surveillance video of ballots being tabulated at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, which he described as a “powerful smoking gun” showing widespread election fraud.

Giuliani’s claims were quickly debunked by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, but he continued to share the video and doubled down on his comments in the weeks after. He was later suspended from practicing law in New York, in part because of his testimony in Georgia.

His subpoena says there’s evidence that Giuliani was “part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

If Giuliani doesn’t show up in Atlanta on Aug. 9, a judge can issue what’s known as a “material witness warrant” to arrest and detain him until he can appear before the grand jury.

The Fulton DA’s office has been a hive of activity in recent weeks as it’s moved closer to Trump’s inner circle.

Prosecutors are fending off legal challenges from the majority of the 16 “alternate” Republican electors who were alerted they’re targets of the grand jury investigation. One of those electors, state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, is seeking to have Willis removed from the case because she held a fundraiser for his Democratic opponent for lieutenant governor. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Thursday.

Meanwhile, an Atlanta-based federal judge will hear arguments Monday from another member of Congress, Georgia U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who is seeking to quash his subpoena request from the grand jury.