Trump aide Mark Meadows is trying to block a Georgia election probe subpoena

Mark Meadows, former White House Chief of Staff, during the America First Policy Institute’s America First Agenda Summit in Washington, DC, Monday, July 25, 2022.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows asked a South Carolina judge to block a subpoena seeking his testimony before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal interference in the 2020 presidential election.

Meadows’ request Monday afternoon came hours after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily delayed a similar subpoena the same grand jury issued to Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C.

The grand jury is investigating former President Donald Trump and others for possible crimes related to efforts to get Georgia election officials to effectively overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the state’s 2020 presidential race.

Meadows was on the phone during a January 2021 call when Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” Trump enough votes to win the state.

A spokesman for the Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney’s office, which oversees evidence presented to the grand jury, said a prosecutor from that office will address Meadows’ efforts at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday in Pickens County -court in South Carolina.

Meadows, a former Republican congressman, lives in South Carolina. Georgia authorities had to petition South Carolina’s Court of Common Pleas to compel him to go to Atlanta to comply with the subpoena.

In a filing Monday in the Thirteenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Meadows’ attorney James Bannister opposed that petition on several grounds.

Bannister said the subpoena was moot because it had required Meadows to appear before the grand jury on Sept. 27.

However, a Fulton County prosecutor said a “scheduling conflict” delayed Meadows’ testimony, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday. Prosecutors suggested adjourning the meeting to November 9, 15 or 30.

Bannister also wrote that South Carolina law relating to securing the attendance of witnesses for another state in a criminal case “does not apply to a subpoena” like the one issued to Meadows under a Georgia civil statute.

The grand jury in this case does not have the power to charge individuals criminally, but can recommend charges.

Bannister also wrote that Meadows is not a “material witness” under South Carolina law because, in a pending federal lawsuit, he asserted the claim of executive privilege by arguing that he should not be compelled to testify before the House select committee , who investigated January 6. Capitol riot by Trump supporters.

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The attorney also wrote that Meadows “reserves the right to submit additional information necessary for a fair determination of the issues before the court.”

Bannister did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis declined to comment.

Trump ally Graham last week lost a bid at the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to temporarily block his own subpoena from the grand jury that had ordered him to appear to testify on Nov. 17.

On Friday, Graham asked Superior Court Judge Thomas to stay the execution of the subpoena as he awaits the outcome of his appeal of its legality.

Thomas, who has authority over emergency petitions from the 11th Circuit, granted the request Monday. The order delaying the writ is not a final decision on its legality.

Graham has argued that he should not be forced to testify at the grand jury at all because it would violate the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which protects members of Congress from legal risk from their comments related to legislative business.

A federal district judge rejected that argument. The judge also ordered that Willis’ prosecutors not be allowed to question Graham about parts of a call he made after Election Day 2020 to Secretary of State Raffensperger that could qualify as legislative activity.

The appeals court noted, in upholding the judge’s order, ‚Äúthere is considerable controversy as to whether [Graham’s] phone calls with Georgia election officials were, by and large, legislative inquiries.”

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