Jude Orders Mark Meadows To Testify In GA Criminal Investigation

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A written version of the order from a South Carolina judge for Mark Meadows, who was White House chief of staff at the time of the Capitol riot, to testify in Georgia for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s criminal investigation into pro-Trump election meddling is now available.

As part of the routine process of local authorities in Fulton County pursuing the testimony of individual witnesses who don’t live in Georgia, action from the local judiciary wherever these witnesses do reside is required. The matter of Meadows’s potential testimony for Willis’s investigation came before a South Carolina court late last month. Per a discussion from journalist Kyle Cheney of the written order, “Meadows was waiting for this before [his] decision whether to appear.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), another prospective witness in the Willis investigation whose testimony the district attorney has pursued, challenged his potential appearance all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where an unsigned order without any noted dissents outlined how appropriate protections for Graham’s constitutional concerns were already available. Graham leaned heavily on the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which protects legislators from certain forms of legal scrutiny connected to their work. One of the problems with that argument was it wasn’t clear that Graham’s post-2020 election communications with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger were actually legislative acts, and it was established in the judicial record eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court that categories of questioning definitely not subject to those protections were present.

That list includes Graham’s communications with the Trump campaign and any pressure from the Senator for local officials in the state to change their handling of elections. As for Meadows, he both helped set up and eventually participated in an infamous phone conversation between Trump and Raffensperger in which the then-president pushed for action on the 2020 results. Meadows also made a surprise appearance in Cobb County at the site of an audit of the signatures submitted with mail-in ballots. Since the 2020 elections, Georgia has enacted new rules for mail-in voting relying largely on ID instead of signatures.

“This Court concludes as a matter of law that the above-named witness is a necessary and material witness in a Special Grand Jury Investigation pursuant to O.C.G.A. §15-12-100 now pending in the State of Georgia and that the State has made a proper request for the attendance of the witness,” the South Carolina ruling demanding Meadows’s testimony says. It also includes a date for his testimony at the end of November. Willis has largely although not entirely been successful in pursuing testimony from witnesses living outside of Georgia. In Texas, a court of appeals has questioned the legitimacy of the grand jury working on Willis’s case in the context of securing the testimony of witnesses who live in Texas. One judge “wrote that a special purpose grand jury may not constitute the type envisioned by Texas when it established an agreement with Georgia in 1951 to secure attendance from out-of-state witnesses for investigations,” per Courthouse News. The particular kind of jury handling this stage of the Willis probe can’t itself issue indictments.