© Reuters. Trump campaign representatives hold news conference on 2020 U.S. presidential election results in Washington
© Reuters. Trump campaign representatives hold news conference on 2020 U.S. presidential election results in Washington

By Jan Wolfe and Karen Freifeld

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for COVID-19, Trump said on Sunday, after the former New York mayor’s cross-country efforts to persuade Republican state lawmakers to help reverse the president’s election defeat.

The 76-year-old Giuliani is the latest in a long string of people close to the White House, including Trump himself, sickened in a pandemic that has killed more than 280,000 Americans.

“@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus,” Trump said, using a term for COVID-19 that has drawn backlash.

Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two sources told Reuters that Giuliani was at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. One of the sources said he had not been admitted yet. The hospital did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation.

Giuliani has been spearheading Trump’s floundering effort to overturn his Nov. 3 election loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden through a flurry of lawsuits. Both Trump and Giuliani have repeatedly claimed, contrary to evidence, that the outcome was marred by widespread fraud.

State and federal officials have repeatedly said there is no evidence of fraud on any significant scale.

Giuliani visited Georgia on Thursday, where he urged state lawmakers to intervene to overturn Biden’s victory in the state, after making similar pleas in Michigan on Wednesday and Arizona on Monday.

Trump and many of his close associates have balked at public health officials’ advice to wear masks and avoid crowds to stem transmission of the respiratory illness, which has roared to record levels in the United States as winter approaches.

Giuliani, who developed an international profile as “America’s Mayor” for his leadership after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has faced mounting legal troubles during the Trump administration.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have been investigating Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine, and two associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, have been charged with campaign finance violations.

Giuliani has not been criminally charged and has denied wrongdoing. Parnas and Fruman have pleaded not guilty.

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