Rudy Giuliani has now been ordered to testify before a special grand jury investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his allies may have engaged in racketeering in their attempts to reverse Trump’s 2020 electoral defeat in Georgia. The order came down from a New York judge after Giuliani failed to appear at a July 13 hearing that would have provided him with an opportunity to challenge the subpoena, according to court filings released Wednesday. Giuliani worked as Trump’s personal attorney and played a high-profile role in attempting to flip the 2020 election in Trump’s favor while spreading baseless rumors of voter fraud.
The order represents the latest escalation in the aggressive criminal investigation into the actions of Trump and his inner circle to change the results of the last presidential election in Georgia, a state Trump lost in a nail-biter by fewer than 12,000 votes. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she is considering possible racketeering charges under Georgia state law as part of her investigation. The Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or Georgia RICO, is the junior cousin of the federal RICO statute, which was created in 1970 to bring down the mafia. In a nutshell, both laws prohibit anyone from using an organization to commit a series of crimes. In this case, the organization in question could be the Trump campaign, and the series of crimes could be as simple as a trail of lies told to Georgia officials about baseless fraud allegations, lawyers following the investigation have told VICE News. Independent legal experts have told VICE News that the flurry of subpoenas and other actions by Willis in recent weeks have raised the likelihood that she’s preparing to follow through with a charge long seen as her signature move: a sweeping racketeering indictment.
No charges have been filed yet by her office in relation to the 2020 election. But Willis recently sent letters to 16 key Trump allies in Georgia who put themselves forward as alternate pro-Trump electors, telling them they could be charged with crimes as part of her investigation, according to court filings revealed this week. Giuliani was subpoenaed by the same special grand jury that’s seeking testimony from Trump supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has taken steps to quash the subpoena and avoid having to testify. Giuliani’s date to testify before the Georgia special grand jury is now set for Aug. 9, according to the New York judge’s order. It was not immediately clear why Giuliani didn’t show up to the July 13 hearing in New York, and Giuliani’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News. Willis’ petition to a judge in Georgia for the subpoena for Giuliani specifically references the controversial lawyer’s appearance in front of the Georgia State Senate on Dec. 3, 2021.“There is evidence that [Giuliani’s] appearance and testimony at the hearing 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,” the subpoena said. Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.