On Monday, Atlanta-area federal Judge Leigh Martin May indicated she’d refuse an effort by Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) to entirely block a subpoena he received demanding he testify amid Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s ongoing election meddling investigation.
The matter’s moving at least in part to the Superior Court of Fulton County, where Hice will evidently be able to raise objections to specific questions tied to the case. There’s also the apparent potential the federal judge could again intervene in the proceedings. “In a perfect world, y’all will never see me again,” she said. “But in a realistic world, there may be issues y’all cannot solve.” In that scenario, she was prepared to “weigh into this as much as I need to,” she said this week. Otherwise, the judge was “remanding this back to superior court for further proceedings,” where attorneys could “confer” regarding “specific questions,” as the judge outlined things.
It’s not entirely clear why precisely Willis might be pursuing Hice’s testimony; the original subpoena he received makes no such specifications. Hice, though, was among key local allies for Trump in his attempts to undercut the 2020 presidential election outcome. He served in a key role in the former president’s schemes in that he was Donald’s preferred candidate to take on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) in the GOP primary for Raffensperger’s current position. One could imagine that Willis might be interested in questioning Hice about the potential his primary campaign against Raffensperger was meant in part as political retribution against Raffensperger for the official’s refusal to go along with Trump’s election subversion attempts. Was there a conspiracy to intimidate Raffensperger for simply performing his legal duties?
Hice was also involved in White House discussions about potentially using so-called alternate slates of electors in blocking the certification of Biden’s election win. Those supposed electoral votes — assembled for Trump in certain states Biden won — had no legal foundation, and they’re a focus of the Willis probe. The news emerged the individuals who signed on as fake electors for Trump from Georgia are targets of her ongoing criminal probe, although a Fulton County Superior Court judge ruled this week Willis can’t directly target — evidently through questioning or the development of a case against — state Sen. Burt Jones (R). He’s the GOP pick for lieutenant governor in Georgia, and Willis hosted a fundraiser for his Democratic opponent.
The fake electors scheme is also under investigation at the federal level, where grand jury subpoenas went out to involved individuals including the leaders of the Arizona and Georgia GOPs. Hice’s side originally claimed he was protected from Willis’s subpoena by constitutional provisions, particularly the portion of the U.S. Constitution known as the Speech and Debate Clause, which keeps legislators from facing certain law enforcement actions tied to their positions. Meanwhile, Willis also subpoenaed key Trump allies including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rudy Giuliani, and attorney John Eastman — the last of whom was a key figure behind theories by which then-VP Mike Pence could supposedly block Biden’s win during the Congressional certification process.