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Rudy Giuliani gives awkward laugh over whether he regrets Trump relationship during Georgia surrender

Rudy Giuliani called his arrest an “attack on the American people” outside a Georgia jail, where he surrendered to law enforcement for his part in the alleged 2020 election interference plot.

The former New York City mayor and former attorney to Donald Trump spoke to reporters outside the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta.

He gave an awkward laugh when asked if he regretted his long working relationship with Mr Trump.

Asked if he regretted “attaching his name” to Mr Trump and his efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election, the former New York mayor replied: “Do I what? Ha ha ha ... I am very very honoured to be involved in this case because this case is a fight for our way of life.”

Mr Giuliani also told reporters: “If they can do this to me, they can do this to you,” while surrounded by press and protesters outside the jail, after insisting that the case was a “fight for our way of life” and a “travesty.”

He said that he was being prosecuted for defending Mr Trump, and lashed out at Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

“Fani Willis will go down in American history, as having conducted one of the worst attacks on the American Constitution,” he said. “She has violated people’s First Amendment right to advocate the government to petition the government for grievances like an election they believe was poorly conducted or falsely conducted. People have a right to believe that in America.”

Earlier in the day, just before leaving New York, he told reporters he felt “very good” about his arrest.

“I’m going to Georgia, and I’m feeling very very good about it because I feel like I’m defending the rights of all Americans as I did so many times as a United States attorney,” he said.

A person holds a sign reading ‘Clown Car Coup’ as  Rudy Giuliani speaks to the media after being booked at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia (AFP via Getty Images)
A person holds a sign reading ‘Clown Car Coup’ as Rudy Giuliani speaks to the media after being booked at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia (AFP via Getty Images)

“Whether you dislike or you like Donald Trump, let me give you a warning, they’re gonna come for you,” he added, echoing Mr Trump’s campaign lines.

The former Trump attorney surrendered at the Fulton County Jail on Wednesday afternoon, where his bail was set at $150,000.

Mr Giuliani continued to defend the former president, saying: “I don’t know how many times he has to be proven innocent and they have to be proven to be liars.”

Mr Giuliani is charged with making false statements and soliciting false testimony, conspiring to create fake paperwork and asking state lawmakers to violate their oath of office to appoint an alternate slate of pro-Trump electors.

Sources told CNN that Bernie Kerik – the former NYPD boss and Mr Trump ally – was assisting him in finding legal representation in Georgia.

“I’m going to Fulton County to comply with the law which I always do. I don’t know if I plead today but if I do, I’ll plead not guilty,” he told reporters outside his home on Wednesday morning.

The former New York City mayor has railed against the indictment – fuming that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has charged him using the same mob law he has long taken credit for pioneering.

“This is a ridiculous application of the racketeering statute. There’s probably no one that knows it better than I do,” he told Newsmax last week.

Mr Giuliani famously used the RICO statute to try to take down the New York City mafia while working as a US attorney in the 1980s.

Now he is one of 19 defendants charged in the sweeping RICO case and given a deadline of midday on Friday 25 August to surrender to authorities in Fulton County to be arrested on the charges.

As of Wednesday morning, at least six of the defendants have surrendered including Cathy Latham, Scott Hall, and attorney John Eastman.

Rudy Giuliani as he left his apartment in New York on Wednesday to travel to Georgia (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Rudy Giuliani as he left his apartment in New York on Wednesday to travel to Georgia (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mr Trump has said that he plans to surrender for his arrest on Thursday – hours after he boycotts the first Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night. Bond has been set for Mr Trump at $200,000.

All 19 of the defendants were charged with violating Georgia’s RICO statute.

The indictment accuses Mr Trump and his allies of orchestrating and running a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere, to “accomplish the illegal goal of allowing Donald J. Trump to seize the presidential term of office, beginning on January 20, 2021”.

“This criminal organization constituted an enterprise as that term is defined in O.C.G.A. § l6-14-3(3), that is, a group of individuals associated in fact. The Defendants and other members and associates of the enterprise had connections and relationships with one another and with the enterprise,” it reads.

The criminal organisation’s members and associates “engaged in various related criminal activities including, but not limited to, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury”.

The other co-defendants are former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell, attorneys John Eastman, Kenneth Cheseboro, Jenna Ellis, Ray Smith III, and Robert Cheeley, former US Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, former Trump campaign official Michael Roman, former state senator and the former chair of the Georgia Republican Party David Schafer, Georgia state senator Shawn Still, Lutheran pastor Stephen Lee, mixed martial artist Harrison Floyd, Kanye West’s former PR Trevian Kutti, former head of the Republican Party in Coffee County Cathleen Latham, Atlanta-area bail bondsman Scott Hall, and former election supervisor of Coffee County Misty Hampton.

DA Willis has spent more than two years investigating efforts by Mr Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election result in the crucial swing state.

The investigation came following the release of a 2 January 2021 phone call Mr Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where he told him to “find” enough votes to change the outcome of the election in the state.

“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Mr Trump is heard saying in the leaked phone call. “Because we won the state.”

Mr Biden won the state by less than 12,000 votes.

The investigation then expanded from that phone call to include a scheme whereby a group of fake Republican electors planned to falsely certify the results in Mr Trump’s favour instead of Mr Biden’s. The plot failed and the fake electors have since reached immunity deals with DA Willis’ office.

Ms Willis said she would like to try the defendants altogether and within the next six months.

In total, the former president is now facing 91 charges from four separate criminal cases.

On 1 August, he was hit with a federal indictment charging him with four counts over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events leading up to the January 6 Capitol riot, following an investigation led by special counsel Jack Smith’s office.

This came after Mr Smith’s office charged Mr Trump in a separate indictment over his alleged mishandling of classified documents on leaving office.

Back in April, Mr Trump was charged for the first time with New York state charges following an investigation into hush money payments made prior to the 2016 election.