7 Trump Allies Subpoenaed in Georgia Criminal Investigation

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Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, John Eastman and several others in the former president’s orbit were subpoenaed in the election meddling inquiry.

Senator Lindsey Graham called the Georgia secretary of state a few weeks after the election to inquire about the rules for discarding mail-in ballots.
Credit...Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Danny Hakim

July 5, 2022, 3:50 p.m. ET

Seven advisers and allies of Donald J. Trump, including Rudolph W. Giuliani and Senator Lindsey Graham, were subpoenaed on Tuesday in the ongoing criminal investigation in Georgia of election interference by Mr. Trump and his associates. The move was the latest sign that the investigation has entangled a number of prominent members of Mr. Trump’s orbit, and clouds the future for the former president himself.

The subpoenas underscore the breadth of the investigation being conducted by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, which encompasses most of Atlanta. She is weighing a range of charges, according to legal filings, including racketeering and conspiracy, and her inquiry has encompassed witnesses from beyond the state’s borders. The latest round of subpoenas was reported earlier by The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A subpoena is not an indication that someone is a subject of an inquiry, though some of the latest recipients are considered at risk in the case, in particular Mr. Giuliani, a personal lawyer for Mr. Trump who has emerged as a central figure in the grand jury proceedings in the Georgia investigation. Mr. Giuliani spent several hours speaking before state legislative panels in December 2020, where he peddled false conspiracy theories about corrupted voting machines and a video that he claimed showed secret suitcases of Democratic ballots. He told members of the State House at the time, “You cannot possibly certify Georgia in good faith.”

Ms. Willis’s office, in its subpoena, said Mr. Giuliani “possesses unique knowledge concerning communications between himself, former President Trump, the Trump campaign, and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multistate, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

While the subpoenas were issued Tuesday, not all had necessarily been received. Robert J. Costello, a lawyer for Mr. Giuliani, said, “We have not been served with any subpoena, therefore we have no current comment.”

Others sent subpoenas included Jenna Ellis, a lawyer who worked closely with Mr. Giuliani to overturn the 2020 election results; John Eastman, the legal architect of a plan to keep Mr. Trump in power by using fake electors, and Mr. Graham, the South Carolina Republican who called the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to inquire about the rules for discarding mail-in ballots a few weeks after the election.

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Another prominent lawyer who received a subpoena, Cleta Mitchell, was on a Jan. 2, 2021, call that Mr. Trump made to Mr. Raffensperger where he asked him to find enough votes to reverse the state’s results. The subpoena to her said, “During the telephone call, the witness and others made allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia and pressured Secretary Raffensperger to take action in his official capacity to investigate unfounded claims of fraud.”

Two other Trump lawyers were also subpoenaed: Jacki Pick Deason, who helped make the Trump team’s case before the Georgia legislature, and Kenneth Chesebro.

Most of those subpoenaed could not be immediately reached for comment. A spokesman for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where Ms. Deason is a senior fellow, declined to comment.

Much attention is focused on the hearings being held in Washington by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. There is also an intensifying investigation by the Department of Justice into a scheme to create slates of fake presidential electors in 2020. But it is the Georgia investigation that is the most visible criminal inquiry underway.

And the subpoenas offered some clues about where it is focused.

Mr. Eastman was a key witness at one of the December 2020 legislative hearings that were led by Mr. Giuliani. Ms. Willis’s office said in its subpoena to Mr. Eastman that during the hearing he had “advised lawmakers that they had both the lawful authority and a ‘duty’ to replace the Democratic Party’s slate of presidential electors, who had been certified as the duly appointed electors for the State of Georgia after the November 2020 election, due to unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud within the state.”

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They called the appearance part of a “multistate, coordinated plan by the Trump campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

The subpoena also noted that Mr. Eastman “drafted at least two memoranda to the Trump Campaign and others detailing a plan through which Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, could refuse to count some of President Joe Biden’s electoral votes” on Jan. 6 — a plan that was rejected by Mr. Pence.

Regarding Ms. Ellis, Ms. Willis’s office said that even after Mr. Raffensperger’s office debunked claims of fraud by election workers at an Atlanta arena, Ms. Ellis persisted. “Despite this, the witness made additional statements claiming widespread voter fraud in Georgia during the November 2020 election,” the subpoena said.

Sean Keenan contributed reporting.

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