Rudy Giuliani was ordered by an Atlanta-area judge Tuesday to appear in person on August 17 in front of the special purpose grand jury investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his allies violated the law in their efforts to flip the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Lawyers for Giuliani, who served as an attorney for Trump during the 2020 election, are seeking to delay his appearance – originally scheduled for Tuesday – saying he shouldn’t fly after he underwent heart stent surgery last month.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney proposed that Giuliani explore land-based travel options.
“John Madden drove all the way over the country in his big bus from stadium to stadium so one thing we need to explore is whether Mr. Giuliani could get here without jeopardizing his recovery and his health, on a train or on a bus or whatever it would be,” McBurney said during the hearing.
Attorney Bill Thomas, who is representing Giuliani, told CNN after the hearing they are going to “explore all the options” for Giuliani’s travel, and that they would plan to be “back here” on the 17th.
“If the court orders that he travel by Greyhound to Atlanta, we are going to do what the court orders him to do,” Thomas said during the hearing.
It’s still not clear if Giuliani is a target in the grand jury investigation. The subject came up briefly at the hearing when Giuliani’s lawyer asked, but the judge said that the prosecutors didn’t need to immediately respond.
McBurney signed off on the subpoena in early July, saying that Giuliani was a “necessary and material witness” in the special grand jury’s investigation.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s office asked the judge to compel Giuliani to testify and said they would “provide alternate transportation including “bus or train” to ensure his appearance before the special grand jury, according to a court filing.
The District Attorney’s office declined offers from Giuliani to appear virtually or wait until he is medically cleared to fly, according to court filings. On Tuesday, the DA’s office said they had “no interest” in Giuliani appearing any other way than but in person.
Giuliani met with Georgia state legislators three times in December 2020 in the aftermath of the presidential election, twice in person and once remotely. During the meetings, Giuliani spread conspiracy theories about widespread irregularities and fraud in the state. Among the false claims, Giuliani accused two Atlanta election workers of smuggling fraudulent Biden ballots in suitcases.
Numerous state and federal officials have debunked Giuliani’s claims of fraud in Georgia, a state that Joe Biden won by nearly 12,000 votes.
Byung “Bjay” Pak, the former top federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Georgia, was among those who testified before the US House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection that Giuliani’s claims of election fraud in Fulton County had been investigated by federal authorities and found to be untrue.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has detailed the far-reaching scope of the investigation, saying that it includes potential “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”
CNN’s Celeste Noraian and Preston Fore contributed to this report.