The Meadows challenge took place in South Carolina since that is where the former congressman currently resides. Since he doesn’t live in Georgia, the Fulton DA’s office needed a local judge to sign the summons, technically known as a material witness certificate, for it to be enforceable.
Meadows is at the center of several events of grand jury interest, including the infamous Jan. 2, 2021, phone call he helped facilitate between then-President Donald Trump and Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Prosecutors said they would also like to ask Meadows about his surprise visit to a Cobb County audit of absentee ballot signatures in December 2020.
Also of interest is a Dec. 21, 2020 meeting at the White House that Meadows attended with Trump and members of Congress, in which certification of votes from the Georgia Electoral College and elsewhere was reportedly discussed. Meadows also sent emails to senior Justice Department officials in late 2020 making allegations of voter fraud in Georgia, prosecutors say.
Lawyers for Meadows echoed an argument made by several other witnesses: that the grand jury, since it cannot issue indictments, is civil and not criminal in nature and therefore cannot compel witnesses to travel to Atlanta under interstate pacts for out-of-court subpoenas.
During a circuit court hearing in Pickens, South Carolina, last month, one of Meadows’ attorneys cited his client’s right to privacy under the South Carolina Constitution, as well as Meadows’ lawsuit against the US House January 6 Committee in federal court. In this lawsuit, the former Trump aide invokes executive privilege to claim that he is immune from testifying.
Meanwhile, South Carolina attorneys Chris Adams and Andrew Savage, representing the office of the Fulton DA, argued in a recent court filing that Meadows’ summons was valid. South Carolina law, they wrote, authorizes the issuance of subpoenas to out-of-state witnesses when their testimony is required “in any proceeding or inquest by a grand jury or in an action, prosecution or criminal proceedings”.
“It is undisputed that the Georgia Special Grand Jury is a criminal action or proceeding,” the attorneys said.
They also dismissed Meadows’ claim that he could not be an important witness because he had sweeping claims of executive privilege that would prevent him from testifying.
Such claims must be brought before Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversees the special grand jury, the attorneys said.
“Respectfully, the courts of South Carolina are not the appropriate forum to engage in an assertion of executive privilege in a criminal investigation in Georgia. »
Several other key witnesses continue to fight their summons to court, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R.S.C., perhaps the most important witness to challenge his summons, testified before the grand jury last week.
Fulton prosecutors reported that the grand jury’s work was coming to an end.
“We don’t anticipate the grand jury will last much longer,” assistant DA Will Wooten told a Florida judge earlier this month, adding that “there are very few witnesses left.”
Before the 23-person grand jury disbands, however, DA Fani Willis is expected to decide whether to summon Trump, either through a more formal channel or on a voluntary basis.