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Nicholas Wu

South Carolina judge rules Mark Meadows must testify in 2020 election probe

UPDATED: 26 OCT 2022 02:07 PM EST

A judge in South Carolina ruled Wednesday that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows must testify in a probe by Atlanta-area prosecutors of 2020 election subversion efforts, according to a spokesperson for the prosecutors.

Jeff DiSantis, a spokesperson for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the investigation, confirmed Circuit Court Judge Edward W. Miller’s ruling, though he declined to comment further. James Bannister, who is serving as Meadows’ local attorney, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his client would appeal the ruling, but his firm later walked back the comments in a statement posted online saying they were still examining their options and calling it “inappropriate” to comment further until the judge issued a final written order.

Prosecutors have sought Meadows’ testimony about his involvement in efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election, including Georgia’s results.

The former chief of staff texted Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger trying to set up calls with the White House in the aftermath of the election, and Meadows also traveled to Georgia in December 2020 to monitor an audit of its election results. Meadows also took part in a now-infamous phone call in which Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find” enough ballots for Trump to win the state.

The former White House chief of staff had been litigating the subpoena in Pickens County, S.C., where he now lives. Willis had sought approval from the South Carolina judge to enforce the subpoena under laws generally requiring cooperation from state and county-level courts for criminal proceedings.

Meadows’ lawyers have argued Willis’ investigation is not truly a criminal investigation, which would prevent Willis from compelling his testimony. The subpoena had initially required Meadows to appear in August and set a deposition for Sept. 27, but in a Tuesday filing to the Pickens County court, Willis deputy John Wooten said a “scheduling conflict” had delayed any action on Meadows’ testimony and proposed rescheduling to November. The delay has led Meadows to contend the subpoena was now “moot.”

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