Mark Meadows Tries to Avoid Testifying in Georgia Election Inquiry

ATLANTA (AP) — Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is trying to avoid having to testify before a special Georgia grand jury investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies tried to illegally influence the 2020 state election.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation early last year, and the special grand jury sat down in May to review evidence and hear from witnesses. Willis filed a petition in August for Meadows to testify before the panel.

Because Meadows lives outside of Georgia, Willis cannot simply issue a subpoena for her testimony. Instead, he has to get a judge in South Carolina, where he lives, to order him to appear.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney in Atlanta, who oversees the special grand jury, signed the petition Willis filed for Meadows, certifying that he is a “necessary and material” witness to the investigation.

After receiving the paperwork from Willis’s office, a prosecutor in Pickens County, South Carolina, asked a judge Sept. 9 to set a hearing to determine whether Meadows should go to Atlanta to testify. In a response filed Monday, an attorney for Meadows asked the South Carolina judge to deny the request.

Attorney James Bannister argued in the court filing that Meadows has exercised executive privilege, which is currently being litigated in federal court, so he is not a “material witness.” Meadows invoked that privilege in a fight against subpoenas issued by the US House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

The House held Meadows in contempt of Congress for defying the subpoena, but the Justice Department refused to prosecute.

Bannister also wrote that the court summons is now moot because it was seeking Meadows’ appearance on September 27, which has now passed.

Will Wooten, a prosecutor in Willis’s office, said in an Oct. 7 affidavit filed with the South Carolina court Monday that he understands a hearing on the request to compel Meadows to testify had not been scheduled because to programming. He conflicts. He provided several dates in November and asked the court to order Meadows to appear on one of those dates.

Bannister also asserted that South Carolina law governing out-of-state subpoena requests applies only to criminal proceedings and therefore does not apply because the special grand jury is a civil investigation.

The special grand jury cannot return an indictment. Instead, you can recommend actions in a report when your investigation is complete. Then Willis will decide if he seeks an indictment from a regular grand jury.

Despite the special grand jury’s inability to indict, McBurney wrote in response to an attempt by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to prevent or delay his testimony that this is, in fact, a criminal investigation.

In the petition seeking testimony from Meadows, Willis wrote that Meadows attended a meeting at the White House on Dec. 21, 2020, with Trump and others “to discuss allegations of voter fraud and the certification of electoral college votes from Trump.” Georgia and other states.” The next day, Willis wrote, Meadows made a “surprise visit” to Cobb County, outside Atlanta, where an audit of the signatures on absentee ballot envelopes was underway. She asked to watch the audit, but was not allowed because it was not open to the public, the petition says.

Meadows also sent emails to Justice Department officials alleging voter fraud in Georgia and elsewhere and requesting investigations, Willis wrote. And he participated in a January 2, 2021, phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which Trump suggested that the state’s top election official could “find” enough votes to overturn his narrow electoral loss in the election. condition.

Meadows is among a number of high-profile Trump associates whose testimony Willis has sought. Former New York Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was told he could face criminal charges in the investigation, testified in August. Attorneys John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro also appeared before the panel.

US Senator Lindsey Graham’s attempt to oppose his subpoena was rejected last week by a federal appeals court and sought intervention by the US Supreme Court. Others whose testimony is sought include former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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