Donald Trump’s ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows, a key figure in the former president’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election outcome, must testify before a Fulton County special purpose grand jury in Georgia, a South Carolina judge ruled Wednesday.
At the end of a Wednesday morning hearing, Judge Edward Miller of the Court of Common Pleas in Pickens County found that Meadows is a material witness in Fulton County DA Fani Willis‘ (D) investigation of attempts to undermine the 2020 election.
Meadows had asserted that being compelled to testify would violate his privacy and more.
“Finally, Respondent is not a ‘material witness’ because there are several constitutional privileges that would limit, if not outright preclude, Mr. Meadows’ testimony,” a Meadows filing in opposition said. “Requiring a witness to appear and assert a privilege, including but not limited to Executive Privilege, is prohibited by law.”
Meadows said the court should quash DA Willis’ efforts “based on Respondent’s State Constitutional Right to Privacy.”
“Compelling Mr. Meadows, a citizen of South Carolina, to travel out of state and testify before a Georgia ‘special purpose grand jury’ that publicly airs its works would violate this critical protection,” his lawyer James Bannister asserted.
Meadows’ team also protested that he had “previously been instructed by the former President to assert a valid privilege: Executive Privilege.”
But Judge Miller saw it differently.
“I am going to find that the witness is material and necessary to the investigation and that the state of Georgia is assuring not to cause undue hardship to him,” the judge said, according to CNN.
The judge reportedly emphasized the criminal nature of the grand jury investigation.
(2) Despite Wooten’s assertions that this is criminal proceeding, Bannister says, it simply is not. Judge Miller interjects: “I’m looking at McBurney’s order..it says the special purpose grand jury is criminal..Do I give full faith and credit to our sister states, or US Const.?”
— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) October 26, 2022
The ruling comes a matter of days after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) lost arguments of his own but received a temporary reprieve from Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife Ginni Thomas feverishly texted Meadows in the aftermath of Trump’s loss — even urging him to “Release the Kraken.”
Following in Graham’s footsteps, Meadows intends to appeal.
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]
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