ATLANTA — Rudy Giuliani, the onetime personal attorney of former President Donald Trump, entered the Fulton County courthouse on Wednesday morning to testify before the special purpose grand jury examining Georgia’s 2020 elections.
Pryor Street in downtown Atlanta took on a circus-like atmosphere as some three-dozen reporters and camerapeople from local and national news outlets jockeyed for the best view of the former New York City mayor. He arrived around 8:30 a.m., accompanied by his lawyer and former GOP gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones.
The commotion came after one of Giuliani’s attorneys confirmed that his client was notified on Monday that he’s a target of the investigation and could be indicted.
Giuliani later cited the development as evidence that “we’re starting to live in a fascist state.”
“It’s just a further desecration of the Sixth Amendment. I was his lawyer of record in that case,” Giuliani said on Newsmax Monday, referencing Trump. “The statements that I made are either attorney-client privilege, because they were between me and him, or they were being made on his behalf in order to defend him.”
He added, “When you start turning around lawyers into defendants when they’re defending their clients, we’re starting to live in a fascist state. Look, I’ve already had my law office raided. I never thought I’d ever see that happen.”
Giuliani’s appearance is undoubtedly one of the most high-profile for the 23-person grand jury, which was selected in May and has already interviewed dozens of witnesses. It’s tasked with investigating whether Trump or his allies like Giuliani broke any state laws as they tried to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is advising the grand jury and will ultimately decide whether to press charges, has faced increasing resistance from witnesses as she’s gotten closer to Trump’s inner circle.
It’s unclear whether Giuliani plans to plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, though he’s likely to cite attorney-client privilege to avoid answering questions about specific conversations he had with Trump.
That may cut off many queries from jurors and prosecutors, but some legal experts argue that Giuliani won’t have blanket legal immunity. That’s because of what’s known as the “crime-fraud exception,” which exempts discussions from attorney-client privilege if the objective was to commit a crime or perpetrate a fraud.