Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Tamar Hallerman

SC judge: Mark Meadows must testify before Ga. grand jury

PICKENS, S.C. – A South Carolina judge ruled Wednesday that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows must testify before the Fulton County, Georgia, special grand jury investigating attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election, saying he is a “necessary and material” witness.

Following a 45-minute hearing in this small city in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Circuit Court Judge Edward W. Miller denied Meadows’ attempt to quash a petition seeking his testimony.

Meadows’ attorney James W. Bannister said he plans to appeal the ruling to the South Carolina Court of Appeals but had no other immediate comment. The Fulton County District Attorney’s office, which is advising the grand jury and sent a prosecutor to the hearing, declined to comment.

The arguments were held in Pickens, about 20 miles west of Greenville, because Meadows is a local. Since he does not reside in Georgia, the Fulton DA’s needed a local judge to sign off on the summons, technically known as a certificate of material witness, for it to be enforceable. Like other witnesses who have fought their subpoenas, Meadows did not attend the hearing.

The former North Carolina congressman is at the center of several events of interest to the grand jury, including the infamous Jan. 2, 2021, phone call he facilitated between then-President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

During the hearing, Bannister peppered Deputy Fulton DA Will Wooten with procedural questions about how the 23-person special grand jury works and previous challenges from other subpoenaed witnesses, at some moments drawing exasperation from Miller.

Bannister pointed to Meadows’ pending litigation against the U.S. House’s Jan. 6 committee in federal court, in which the former Trump aide is citing executive privilege to argue he’s immune from testifying.

He also adopted an argument that a Texas-based witness used successfully with Lone Star State judges: that the Fulton special grand jury proceedings are civil, not criminal in nature, and because of that Meadows can’t be compelled to testify under interstate guidelines for witnesses. Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who is overseeing the grand jury, has said the proceedings are criminal and not civil, but several judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas expressed skepticism in a September ruling related to a challenge filed by attorney and podcast host Jacki Pick.

The Fulton District Attorney’s office offered to reschedule Meadows’ testimony for one of four alternate dates after the November elections in a recent affidavit.

The original petition seeking out Meadows’ testimony was approved in late August.

In addition to the Raffensperger call, Meadows set up a conversation between Trump and Georgia elections investigator Frances Watson and dropped in on an audit of absentee ballot signatures in Cobb County in Dec. 2020.

The petition seeking Meadows’ testimony also notes that he sent emails to top Justice Department officials in late 2020 “making various allegations of voter fraud in Georgia and elsewhere and requesting that the Department of Justice conduct investigations into these allegations.” He also attended a key White House meeting with Trump and members of Congress in December 2020 to discuss the certification of Electoral College votes from Georgia and elsewhere.

Even though Meadows has avoided testifying so far, his onetime aide Cassidy Hutchinson is reportedly cooperating with prosecutors. Her attorney did not respond to a request for comment.


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.