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Giuliani faces contempt charge after last-minute refusal to testify for Jan. 6 committee

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Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's campaign adviser, speaks about the results of the 2020 presidential election at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on November 19, 2020. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/d13ce761e78088fd95a0d7845b05f7c8/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's campaign adviser, speaks about the results of the 2020 presidential election at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on November 19, 2020. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

May 6 (UPI) -- Investigators could go after Rudolph Giuliani with a contempt of Congress charge after former President Donald Trump's attorney pulled the plug on an interview with the House's Jan. 6 committee on Friday, which subpoenaed him as a witness relating to the U.S. Capitol attack.

The committee issued a subpoena for Giuliani to give testimony Friday and the former New York City mayor agreed. Late on Thursday, however, his lawyer told multiple news outlets that he no longer planned to appear.

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The main reason for the late withdrawal, commission spokesman Tim Mulvey said, is that the panel was not going to allow Giuliani to record the interview on video because that was never previously agreed to.

The attorney representing Giuliani, Robert Costello, said he'd only agreed to speak to the committee on topics outside of his conversations with Trump, which he maintains are part of attorney-client privilege.

"He's willing to talk about anything that is not privileged," Costello said, according to The New York Times. "The only sticking point we've had is recording the interview.

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's campaign legal adviser, wipes sweat from his face as he speaks about the results of the 2020 presidential election at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on November 19, 2020. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
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"That tells me they're more interested in keeping things secret than getting to the so-called truth. If you're interested in the person's testimony, why would you not agree to this?"

Mulvey said Giuliani is a key witness for the committee, as he was in charge of Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and fired up the crowd at a rally before they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue and assaulted the Capitol. At the rally, Giuliani said, "Let's have trial by combat!"

RELATED National Archives releasing new tranche of records from Trump White House to Jan. 6 committee

Because Giuliani will no longer appear before the committee, he faces various possible punishments, including contempt of Congress -- a charge that's already been made against other former administration officials who refused subpoenas to testify, including Trump's White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Steve Bannon, trade adviser Peter Navarro and social media manager Dan Scavino.

It's up to the Justice Department to prosecute after a witness is charged with contempt of Congress.

"Mr. Giuliani is an important witness to the conspiracy to overthrow the government and he remains under subpoena," Mulvey said according to Politico. "If he refuses to comply the committee will consider all enforcement options."

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After Joe Biden won the 2020 election, Giuliani also worked with attorney John Eastman, who helped create Trump's post-election legal strategy for Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the Electoral College vote -- a prospect that Pence ultimately rejected.

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