GA election case: Ex-Trump chief of staff ordered to testify

Politics

(NewsNation) — A judge has ordered former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify before a special grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump and others accused of trying to influence the 2020 election.

Last year Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened an investigation into the Trump camp’s actions after the election, attempting to overturn the results of the election, in which he lost to now-President Joe Biden.

Willis, a Democrat, filed a petition for Meadows’ testimony back in August, and in a lengthy process that included approval from a judge from South Carolina — where Meadows resides — was signed off by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who is overseeing the special grand jury.

On Wednesday, a South Carolina judge ruled he would honor the Georgia court’s petition and ordered Meadows to testify, according to the Associated Press and other outlets.

The petition called Meadows a “necessary and material witness” as to whether Trump and his allies tried to illegally influence the election. According to the AP, Meadows traveled to Georgia and also sat in on Trump’s phone calls with Georgia officials.

According to the petition, in December, 2020 Meadows made a “surprise visit” to the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta, Georgia where the state’s secretary of state’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were auditing absentee ballot signatures and requested to personally oversee the audit.

The surprise visit came one day after Meadows and other Trump allies including members of Congress met to discuss allegations of voter fraud in Georgia.

It also says Meadows was there when Trump allegedly called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, telling him “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”

Meadows’ attorney argued that executive privilege protects the former chief of staff from testifying, according to the AP, adding that he was instructed by the former president, “to preserve certain privileges and immunities attaching to his former office as White House Chief of Staff.”

His attorney also argued the special grand jury proceedings don’t qualify as a criminal case in South Carolina law, where Georgia authorities needed authorization to continue its request for testimony.

The Georgia judge considers the special grand jury investigating a criminal case, according to the AP, including any attempts to avoid testimony.

The New York Times reported Meadows’ attorney is planning to appeal Wednesday’s order.

Earlier this week U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarance Thomas temporarily blocked U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s testimony from the special grand jury investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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