Judge Orders Meadows to Testify in Georgia Election Case

Former WH chief of staff is a 'necessary and material witness,' court filing states
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 26, 2022 1:06 PM CDT
Judge Orders Meadows to Testify in Georgia Election Case
Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters outside the White House, Oct. 26, 2020.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

A judge on Wednesday ordered former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify before a special grand jury that's investigating whether then-President Trump and his allies illegally tried to influence the state's 2020 election. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation early last year into actions taken by Trump and others to overturn Trump's loss to Joe Biden. Meadows is one of a number of high-profile associates and advisers of the Republican former president whose testimony Willis has sought. Because Meadows doesn't live in Georgia, Willis, a Democrat, had to use a process that involves getting a judge where Meadows lives in South Carolina to order him to appear.

She filed a petition in August seeking to compel his testimony. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who's overseeing the special grand jury, signed off on the petition, certifying that Meadows is a "necessary and material witness" for the investigation. Circuit Court Judge Edward Miller in Pickens County, South Carolina, honored McBurney's finding and ordered Meadows to testify, Willis spokesman Jeff DiSantis confirmed. Meadows is a key witness as the special grand jury investigates whether Trump and his allies sought to illegally influence the election, the AP reports. The former GOP congressman was at the very center of Trump's plans to overturn his presidential election defeat.

Meadows traveled to Georgia, sat in on Trump’s phone calls with state officials, and coordinated and communicated with the many outside influencers who were either encouraging or discouraging the then-president’s pressure campaign. Meadows attorney James Bannister argued in a court filing this week that executive privilege and other rights shield his client from testifying. Bannister asserted in the filing that Meadows has been instructed by Trump "to preserve certain privileges and immunities attaching to his former office as White House Chief of Staff." Willis' petition calls for him "to divulge the contents of executive privileged communications with the President," Bannister wrote. (On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas blocked an order for Sen. Lindsey Graham's testimony.)

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