Key members of former President Donald Trump's legal team and staunch Republican ally Sen. Lindsey Graham were named in subpoenas issued by a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating interference in the 2020 election.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, and attorney John Eastman, who devised a plan to assemble alternate slates of electors to overturn President Joe Biden's election, headlined a list of Trump lawyers called to testify as soon as next week in an accelerating criminal investigation led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Also included in the group was Graham, R-S.C., who placed at least two telephone calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and members of his staff in the weeks following the November 2020 election, seeking a re-examination of absentee ballots "to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump," court documents state.
The Georgia criminal investigation is separate from a Justice Department inquiry and a special House committee's examination of events related to the Capitol assault.
Fani Willis' investigation: Remember Trump’s call to ‘find’ votes in Georgia? Meet Fani Willis, the DA who could charge him
Subpoenas for Giuliani, Eastman and Graham represent the most high-profile steps yet in the Georgia investigation, which has focused on the Trump team's extensive efforts to overturn the state's election results.
Last month, Raffensperger testified for several hours before the panel as part of its focus on a January 2021 telephone call in which Trump pressured the state elections official to flip the election in Trump's favor.
Willis disclosed last year that local prosecutors had launched a wide-ranging investigation of possible election fraud, false statements, conspiracy, oath of office violations, racketeering and violence associated with threats to the election process.
The impetus for the inquiry was the Trump-Raffensperger telephone call in which the then-president said: "So look, all I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state."
In an prior interview with USA TODAY, Willis said that she expected to make a decision on whether to bring criminal charges by the end of the year.
The subpoena request for Giuliani described the former New York mayor's wide-ranging attempts to invalidate the state's election results in testimony before the Georgia state Senate. In that Dec. 3, 2020 appearance, Giuliani claimed to have evidence of fraud in "multiple" counties.
"Among the evidence offered by the Witness was a video recording of election workers at State Farm Arena in Atlanta that purported to show election workers producing 'suitcases' of unlawful ballots from unknown sources, outside the view of election poll watchers," the court documents state.
"Within 24 hours of the December 3, 2020, legislative hearing, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office debunked the State Farm video and explained that its investigation revealed no voter fraud of any kind had taken place at State Farm Arena," according to the documents.
A lawyer for Giuliani said Tuesday the subpoena had not yet been served. A spokesperson for Graham did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The false voter fraud claims in Georgia were the subject of a special House committee hearing last month in which Raffensperger, his top aide Gabe Sterling and former Fulton County election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman outlined the Trump team's pressure campaign.
In dramatic testimony, Freeman, Moss' mother, said Trump and Giuliani had made her a target.
“There is nowhere I feel safe,” Freeman said. “Nowhere.
“Do you know it feels to have the president of the United States target you?” she asked. “The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. But he targeted me, Lady Ruby — a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen, who stood up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Atlanta grand jury issues subpoenas for Giuliani, Graham, Eastman