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Giuliani, other pro-Trump lawyers hit with lawsuits over the January 6 attack

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Reuters) - The Congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. capital issued summonses on Tuesday to three lawyers who joined former President Donald Trump's failed attempt to overturn his election defeat: Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis.

The House of Representatives committee demanded that the pro-Trump attorneys hand over documents and sit for filing on Feb. 8.

Representative Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman, said in a statement that the panel expects attorneys to join the nearly 400 witnesses who have spoken to the select committee as part of its investigation into the causes of the deadly attack by Trump supporters.

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The committee also sued Boris Epshteyn, a Trump political adviser.

Robert Costello, Giuliani's lawyer, said in an interview that the lawsuit was "political theater" and that his client was limited by the legal doctrines of lawyer-client privilege and executive privilege.

"I do not think there is anything here he can testify to," Costello said.

Powell, Epshteyn, and Ellis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks about the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, during a performance on the John Catsimatidis radio show in New York City, New York, USA, September 10, 2021. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

"The four people we have convened today put forward unsupported theories of electoral fraud, pushed for efforts to overturn the election result or were in direct contact with the former president about trying to stop the counting of electoral votes," Thompson said in the statement.

Powell, Giuliani and Ellis spoke together at a press conference in the Trump campaign on November 19, 2020, promising to overthrow President Joe Biden's election victory. Powell promised to "release the Kraken" and compared their efforts to a mythological sea monster.

The Trump campaign distanced itself from Powell after she claimed at the press conference without evidence that electronic voting systems had shifted millions of ballots from Trump to Biden.

Giuliani's law license in New York was suspended in June after an appeals court found he made "demonstrably false and misleading" statements that widespread voter fraud undermined the election, won by Democrat Joe Biden.

The committee aims to release a preliminary report in the summer and a final report in the fall, a source familiar with the study said last month.

CNN reported Tuesday that the committee has sued and obtained records of phone numbers associated with one of Trump's children, Eric Trump, as well as Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is engaged to Donald Trump Jr.

The members of the select committee have said they will consider passing evidence of criminal behavior on Trump's part to the U.S. Department of Justice. Such a move, known as a criminal referral, would be largely symbolic, but would increase political pressure on Justice Minister Merrick Garland to target the former president.

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Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld; Edited by Scott Malone, Bill Berkrot and Bernard Orr

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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