Mark Meadows, who was chief of staff in the Trump White House at the time of last year’s Trump-incited Capitol riot, was ordered Wednesday by a South Carolina court to comply with a push for his testimony in Georgia from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Willis is investigating pro-Trump election meddling in her state after the last presidential race concluded, and Meadows was directly involved in an infamous phone conversation between Trump and Georgia’s top elections official that originally helped spark the probe, although it has since expanded. He helped set up the call and spoke on it. At another point, Meadows showed up in Cobb County, Georgia, with Secret Service agents in tow and without much advance notice to local officials in hopes of personally observing an audit of signatures submitted with mail-in ballots. (The audit later came up on Trump’s infamous call.) Meadows wasn’t able to watch the audit, which didn’t turn up any evidence of widespread fraud. It wasn’t open to the public.
The South Carolina court proceedings were part of the routine process for Willis securing testimony from witnesses who live outside of Georgia but were subpoenaed by the special purpose grand jury working on her investigation. Meadows lives in South Carolina. In court, James Bannister, a lawyer for Meadows, argued against the legitimacy of the jury in Georgia, the standing of which was also questioned by a court in Texas. Bannister was, however, unsuccessful. “Do I give full faith and credit to our sister state’s rulings?” Circuit Court Judge Edward W. Miller remarked at one point. In Fulton County, Judge Robert McBurney has expressly upheld the jury’s criminal investigatory work, although the form under which it is operating means the body can’t issue indictments. Willis herself has also previously spoken of legal standards for judicial authorities in individual states to honor other states’ judicial conclusions.
“We expect every state to abide by the constitutional requirement to ensure that full faith and credit is given by them to the laws and proceedings of other states,” as Willis put it. “That requirement includes abiding by the interstate compact to produce witnesses for other states’ judicial proceedings.” Bannister also tried to use executive privilege as a defense against Meadows’s subpoena from Willis — which also didn’t work. He wanted deliberations over the subpoena put on hold amid further progress in a case Meadows brought challenging a push from the House committee investigating January 6 for info from the former Trump White House official. Meadows provided the panel with thousands of text messages but abruptly wound down his cooperation.
Separately, Willis is also still pushing for testimony from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), whose fight to stop his appearance — which has now been repeatedly ordered at multiple levels of federal court — has reached the Supreme Court. His testimony was temporarily put on hold by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who handles disputes from the appeals court where Graham’s case was handled, and Willis is filing new arguments with the Supreme Court by Thursday of this week.