Rudy Giuliani turned himself in at a jail in Atlanta on Wednesday on charges related to efforts to overturn then-President Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
The former New York mayor, was indicted last week along with Trump and 17 others. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said they participated in a wide-ranging conspiracy to subvert the will of the voters after the Republican president lost to Democrat Joe Biden in November 2020.
Bond for Giuliani, who was released after booking like the other defendants, was set at $150,000, second only to Trump’s $200,000.
Giuliani, 79, is accused of spearheading Trump’s efforts to compel state lawmakers in Georgia and other closely contested states to ignore the will of voters and illegally appoint electoral college electors favourable to Trump.
Other high-profile defendants also surrendered Wednesday, including Jenna Ellis, an attorney who prosecutors say was involved in efforts to convince state lawmakers to unlawfully appoint presidential electors, and lawyer Sidney Powell, accused of making false statements about the election in Georgia and helping to organise a breach of voting equipment in rural Coffee County.
Georgia was one of several key states Trump lost by slim margins, prompting the Republican and his allies to proclaim, without evidence, that the election was rigged in favour of his Democratic rival Biden.
Giuliani is charged with making false statements and soliciting false testimony, conspiring to create phoney paperwork and asking state politicians to violate their oath of office to appoint an alternate slate of pro-Trump electors.
Outside the Fulton County Jail on Wednesday afternoon, Giuliani laughed when asked if he regretted allying himself with Trump.
“I am very, very honoured to be involved in this case because this case is a fight for our way of life,” Giuliani told reporters. “This indictment is a travesty. It’s an attack on -- not just me, not just President Trump, not just the people in this indictment, some of whom I don’t even know – this is an attack on the American people.”
Trump, the early front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, has said he plans to turn himself in at the Fulton County Jail on Thursday. He and his allies have characterised the investigation as politically motivated and have heavily criticised District Attorney Willis, a Democrat.
Also on Wednesday, Willis’ team urged a judge to reject requests from two of the people indicted — former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark — to avoid having to be booked in jail while they fight to move the case to federal court.
Willis has set a deadline of noon on Friday for the people indicted last week in the election subversion case to turn themselves in. Her team has been negotiating bond amounts and conditions with the lawyers for the defendants before they surrender at the jail.
Misty Hampton, who was the Coffee County elections director when a breach of election equipment happened there, had her bond set at $10,000. David Shafer, who’s a former Georgia Republican Party chair and served as one of 16 fake electors for Trump, and Cathy Latham, who’s accused in the Coffee County breach and was also a fake elector, turned themselves in on Wednesday morning. Also surrendering Wednesday were lawyers Ray Smith and Kenneth Chesebro, who prosecutors said helped organise the fake electors meeting at the state Capitol in December 2020.
Attorney John Eastman, who pushed a plan to keep Trump in power, and Scott Hall, a bail bondsman who was accused of participating in the breach of election equipment in Coffee County, turned themselves in on Tuesday.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has said it will release booking photos at 4pm each day, but Shafer appeared to post his on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, just after 7am Wednesday with the message, “Good morning! #NewProfilePicture.”
While Republicans in Georgia and elsewhere are calling for Willis to be punished for indicting Trump, a group of black pastors and community activists gathered outside the state Capitol in Atlanta Wednesday to pray for and proclaim their support for the Democratic prosecutor.
Bishop Reginald Jackson, who leads Georgia’s African Methodist Episcopal churches, said that Willis is under attack “as a result of her courage and determination”.
Former White House chief of staff Meadows and former Justice Department official Clark are seeking to move their cases from Fulton County Superior Court to federal court. Both argue the actions that gave rise to the charges in the indictment were related to their work as federal officials and that the state charges against them should be dismissed.
While those motions are pending, they argue, they should not have to turn themselves in for booking at the Fulton County Jail.
In a filing Wednesday, Willis’ team argued that Meadows has failed to demonstrate any hardship that would authorise the judge to prevent his arrest. The filing notes that other defendants, including Trump, had agreed to voluntarily surrender by the deadline.
In a second filing, Willis’ team argued that Clark’s effort to halt any Fulton County proceedings while his motion is pending amounts to an attempt “to avoid the inconvenience and unpleasantness of being arrested or subject to the mandatory state criminal process”.