Former Trump aide Meadows seeks to block Georgia election probe warrant
Mark Meadows, former White House Chief of Staff, during the America First Policy Institute’s America First Agenda Summit in Washington, DC, on Monday, July 25, 2022.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has asked a South Carolina judge to block a subpoena requiring him to testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal interference in the 2020 presidential election.
Meadows’ request Monday afternoon came several hours later US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily put a similar subpoena on hold issued by the same grand jury to Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C.
A grand jury is questioning the former president Donald Trump and others for possible crimes related to efforts to get Georgia election officials to effectively impeach the president Joe Bidenwinning the 2020 state race.
Meadows spoke on the phone during a call in January 2021 when Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” Trump enough votes to win the state.
A spokesman for the district attorney’s office in Fulton County, Georgia, which oversees the evidence presented to the grand jury, said a prosecutor from that office will address Meadows’ efforts during a hearing Wednesday in Pickens County, South Carolina.
Meadows, a former Republican congressman, lives in South Carolina. Georgia authorities had to petition the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas to compel him to go to Atlanta to comply with the subpoena.
In a filing Monday in the Thirteenth Judicial District Court, Meadows’ attorney, James Bannister, opposed the petition on several grounds.
Bannister said the subpoena was moot because it required Meadows to appear before a grand jury on Sept. 27.
But the Fulton County District Attorney said a “scheduling conflict” delayed Meadows’ testimony date, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday. Prosecutors proposed that the hearing be postponed to November 9, 15 or 30.
Bannister also wrote that South Carolina’s law on securing the presence of a witness for another state in a criminal proceeding “does not apply to a subpoena” like the one issued to Meadows under Georgia civil law.
A grand jury in this case does not have the power to criminally charge individuals, but it can recommend charges.
Bannister also wrote that Meadows is not a “material witness” under South Carolina law because he argued in a pending federal court case that he should not be forced to testify before a House select committee investigating the case on Jan. 6. , 2021, Trump supporters riot in the Capitol.
The attorney also wrote that Meadows “reserves the right to present any further information necessary to fairly resolve the matter before the court.”
Bannister did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Fulton County District Attorney spokeswoman Fanny Willis declined to comment.
Trump ally Graham last week lost his bid in the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to temporarily block his own subpoena from the grand jury, which ordered him to appear to testify on November 17.
Graham asked Thomas on Friday to delay execution of the warrant pending the outcome of an appeal of its legality.
Thomas, who has authority over emergency requests from the 11th Circuit, approved the request Monday. An order to postpone the summons is not a final decision on its legality.
Graham argued that he should not be forced to testify before the grand jury because that would violate the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which protects members of Congress from legal risk from their comments about legislative business.
A federal district court judge rejected that argument. At the same time, the judge ordered that Willis’ prosecutors could not question Graham about parts of the calls he made to Raffensperger after the 2020 election that could qualify as legislative activity.
The Court of Appeal, confirming the judge’s verdict, stated that “there is a significant dispute as to whether [Graham’s] phone calls with Georgia election officials were generally a legislative investigation.”
#Trump #aide #Meadows #seeks #block #Georgia #election #probe #warrant