Rudy Giuliani is surrounded by media outside the Fulton County jail as he surrendered Aug. 23, 2023, on criminal charges. (Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder)
This story was updated at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2023.
A former U.S. Department of Justice official and another high-ranking aide to former President Donald Trump suffered legal setbacks Wednesday in their challenges to the Fulton County 2020 presidential election interference case.
Jeffrey Clark, Trump’s top environmental lawyer who provided advice that encouraged states to appoint an alternate slate of 2020 electors, and Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, both fought to stave off their Fulton County prosecution on Wednesday.
Trump is scheduled to turn himself into the Fulton County jail on Thursday on charges that he was one of the ringleaders in alleged criminal racketeering and conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and several other states.
The deadline for the remaining defendants to turn themselves in is noon Friday.
Clark will be required to turn himself in at the Fulton County jail after a judge denied his motion to halt the county proceedings. The indictment alleges Clark solicited a U.S. attorney general and deputy attorney general to make false statements about significant concerns about the election’s outcome in December 2020. That was after Georgia election officials certified the presidential victory for President Joe Biden.
In response to Meadows’ request for removal, Judge Steve Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia wrote that the state prosecutors can proceed with the case despite the request for removal.
Meadows is alleged to have set up a Jan. 2, 2021, phone conversation in which Trump asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to tilt Georgia’s election in the outgoing president’s favor.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, strongly rebuked Meadows’ request that the case be moved from state court.
Willis argued in a legal filing Wednesday that Meadows’ “baseless” request was an attempt to avoid arrest before the Friday deadline she set for the 19 defendants indicted last week.
“Despite his determination to characterize the pending indictment against him as anything but criminal, the defendant has not directed this court’s attention to any statute, case law, or other authority for his ‘civil-criminal hybrid’ theory of the criminal charges pending against him,” Willis said.
Rudy Giuliani surrenders at Fulton County Jail
Giuliani, 79, on Wednesday agreed to pay a $150,000 bond to be set free on a 13 count indictment that includes charges he violated Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, committed criminal conspiracy, made false statements and writings, and solicited public officials to violate their oath.
Trump is scheduled to turn himself into the Fulton County jail on Thursday on charges related to being one of the ringleaders in alleged criminal racketeering and conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and several other states.
Prior to arriving in Atlanta to meet with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Giuliani defended his involvement in attempting to persuade Georgia lawmakers to appoint an alternate slate of Republican electors to discredit Joe Biden’s close win over the former president in 2020.
Giuliani on Wednesday claimed that his support for Trump was about protecting American rights and compared his actions to his tenure as U.S. attorney in the 1980s, when he took down criminal mafia organizations in New York.
Giuliani also took aim at the indictment alleging that several of Trump’s former campaign and personal attorneys were involved in a criminal conspiracy, framing it as an attack on the First Amendment.
He spoke briefly to reporters gathered outside the county jail Wednesday afternoon, calling the Fulton County case a “ridiculous case in which I’m being prosecuted for defending an American citizen.”
“Five other lawyers are indicted. That should tell you right away that this is a an assault on our Constitution,” Giuliani said in Atlanta. “Fani Willis will go down in American history as having conducted one of the worst attacks on the American Constitution ever when this case is case is dismissed.”
“If they can do this to me, they can do this to you,” he also said.
Three other former Trump attorneys Kenneth Chesebro, Ray Smith and Sidney Powell also turned themselves into the Fulton authorities on Wednesday after negotiating bond agreements.
On Wednesday, Chesebro’s lawyers filed a petition for a speedy trial on charges of violating the state’s racketeering act and criminal conspiracy. The charging document against Chesebro alleges that the former Trump campaign lawyer provided an alternate slate of Republican electors with the documents that were intended to be considered as legitimate electoral votes for Trump.
Chesebro and Smith were booked and released overnight or early Wednesday, as were former state GOP party chairman David Shafer and former Coffee County GOP chair Cathleen Latham.
Shafer posted his own mugshot to X at 7 a.m. Wednesday and said “Good morning! #NewProfilePic”
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