Giuliani could be hit with ‘false statement’ charges in Georgia, report says

The former New York City mayor continually pushed unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud

Louise Hall
Wednesday 24 March 2021 16:26
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Former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani could be hit with “false statement” charges in Georgia over the 2020 election, a report has said.

According to The Daily Beast, local prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are actively considering whether to apply charges relating to “the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies” to Mr Giuliani.

The former New York City mayor made unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in the state and has been accused of “lying” about election-fraud claims by an election official in the state.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating potential efforts by Mr Trump and others to influence last year’s general election.

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Ms Willis previously wrote to state officials that her office had opened a criminal investigation into “potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud”.

The letter stated that this included “the making of false statements to state and local government bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

However, The Daily Beast reported that there had been no focus on the legal team’s efforts to explore the specific criminal charge of “making of false statements to state and local government bodies.”

Now, the Fulton District Attorney’s public integrity team is reportedly honing in on the claims Mr Giuliani and other members of Mr Trump’s made to Georgia’s state legislators in a possible pursuit of charges.

Several former Georgia district attorneys told the outlet that investigators would likely rely on a state law that makes it a felony to “knowingly and wilfully” make a false statement on “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the state government.

The criminal charge carries a punishment of one to five years in prison, but prosecutors told the outlet that applying this state law to the former president’s attorney would be a rare strategy.

Also said to be under review is Mr Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he asked him to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state.

A phone call with the top investigator in the state's mail-in ballot, in which he allegedly asked her to “find” fraud, was also under investigation.

Following the November general election, Mr Trump refused to accept his loss by about 12,000 votes in Georgia, long a Republican stronghold.

Ms Willis has been previously asked whether she is looking at debunked claims Mr Giuliani made before Georgia legislative committees casting doubt on the legitimacy of the state’s election.

Ms Willis said at the time: “We won’t overreach, but if those things do seem to be part of a plan to influence the election, they’ll become relevant.”

Mr Trump’s advisers and Mr Giuliani did not provide a comment when contacted by The Daily Beast. The Independent has reached out to Mr Giuliani and the Trump organisation for comment.

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