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Aug. 17, 2022, 8:31 p.m. EDT

Rudy Giuliani testifies for about 6 hours in Georgia’s 2020 election probe

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By Associated Press

ATLANTA — Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that he had “satisfied his obligation” after facing hours of questioning Wednesday before a  special grand jury  in Atlanta as a target of an  investigation into attempts by former President Donald Trump  and others to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.

The former New York mayor and Trump attorney had left the Fulton County courthouse earlier Wednesday without commenting to reporters roughly six hours after the grand jury convened as part of a rapidly escalating investigation that has ensnared several Trump allies.

Giuliani’s questioning took place behind closed doors, as grand jury proceedings are secret. Swarmed by news cameras in the morning when he stepped out of a black SUV at the courthouse steps, Giuliani said he didn’t plan to talk about his testimony.

“Grand juries, as I recall, are secret,” said Giuliani, who came to court with his attorney, Robert Costello. “They ask the questions and we’ll see.”

He declined to offer further details when he was greeted by an Associated Press reporter later Wednesday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. But he said, “The district attorney said at the end, ‘Mr. Giuliani has satisfied his obligation.’”

Though grand jury secrecy rules prohibit people present during grand jury testimony from discussing it, that prohibition does not apply to witnesses, including Giuliani. As a former federal prosecutor, he is likely familiar with those rules.

It’s unclear how much he was willing to say after his lawyers were informed Monday that  he’s a target of the investigation .

Costello told the AP that the session, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a half-hour lunch “went very well. No disputes.” Costello did not immediately address whether Giuliani answered questions or declined.

“Everyone was a lady or gentleman. Professional,” he wrote in a text message, adding that Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, came out to greet Giuliani and his lawyers at the end.

The investigation by the Democratic prosecutor has brought heightened scrutiny to the desperate and ultimately failed efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election win. It’s one of several investigations into Trump’s actions in office as he lays the groundwork for another run at the White House in 2024.

Willis opened her investigation after the disclosure of a remarkable Jan. 2, 2021,  phone call between Trump and Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger . On the call, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could “find” the exact number of votes that would be needed to flip the election results in Georgia.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing. He has described the call as “perfect.”

Willis last month filed petitions to compel testimony from seven Trump associates and advisers. She has also said she’s considering calling Trump himself to testify, and the former president has hired a legal team in Atlanta that includes a prominent  criminal defense attorney .

Other Trump allies swept up in the inquiry include U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. His attorneys filed a legal motion Wednesday asking a federal judge to put Graham’s special grand jury appearance set for Aug. 23 on hold while he appeals an order compelling him to testify.

Prosecutors want to ask Graham about phone calls they say he made to Raffensperger and his staff in the weeks following the vote.

Graham’s lawyers, including former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn, are fighting the subpoena in federal court. They argue Graham’s position in Congress protects him from having to appear before the grand jury. A federal judge rejected that notion and ordered the senator to testify. Graham has said he plans to appeal.

Also Wednesday, lawyers for Republican Gov. Brian Kemp asked the judge overseeing the special grand jury to quash a subpoena for him to testify Thursday. Kemp had been scheduled to sit for a video recorded voluntary interview with the district attorney’s office on July 25, but Willis’ team canceled that and issued a subpoena after Kemp’s attorneys asked about the scope of the interview, Kemp’s motion says.

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