Georgia court orders Brian Kemp to testify in Trump probe, On Monday, a judge in Georgia denied Governor Brian Kemp’s request to avoid testifying before the grand jury that is hearing evidence in an investigation of possible interference in the 2020 election by then-President Donald Trump and others.
The judge did, however, rule that the governor does not have to testify until after the election in November.
Judge Robert McBurney of the Fulton County Superior Court wrote in his six-page ruling that “the governor is in the midst of a re-election campaign and this criminal grand jury investigation should not be used by the District Attorney, the Governor’s opponent or the Governor himself to influence the outcome of that election.”
McBurney was referring to the fact that the criminal investigation was being conducted by a grand jury. “The Court expects the Governor’s legal team to swiftly make preparations for his appearance once the election has been completed,”
Kemp, a Republican, will square off against Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, in the election that will take place on November 8. Trump has criticized Kemp for denying his demands to assist in overturning Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election.
According to a statement released by Kemp’s office, Judge McBurney “acknowledged the potential political impact of the timing of these proceedings and appropriately halted the Governor’s involvement until after the November election.”
“Just as we have been doing since April 2021, we will work with the DA’s office and the judge to ensure that a comprehensive accounting of the limited role that the Governor played in the problems that are being investigated is made available to the special grand jury.”
A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, named Jeff DiSantis, stated that the agency agrees with the judge’s decision to order Kemp to testify and that it will not challenge the delay. “The District Attorney’s office will not be appealing this decision based on the short schedule between now and Election Day,” DeSantis said. “This is because there is so little time between now and Election Day.”
A special grand jury that was established as part of the investigation into interference in the 2020 election that is being conducted by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wanted to question Kemp about the pressure he received from the White House and others to overturn the results in the state, which was won by Biden by a narrow margin.
After what McBurney referred to as weeks of “tortured and tortuous” talks for a voluntary interview with Kemp, the grand jury issued the subpoena for Kemp’s testimony this month. The subpoena was issued by the grand jury. “Both sides share culpability for the torture and tortuousness,” the judge remarked.
The attorneys from the office of the state Attorney General Chris Carr had argued that the subpoena should be quashed because Kemp had “sovereign immunity,” but the judge did not agree with them. The judge found that sovereign immunity only applies in civil actions, whereas the investigation being conducted by the special grand jury is a criminal investigation.
Carr also alleged that Willis was pursuing Kemp’s testimony for improper political purposes (an allegation that Willis, a Democrat, denied), and he argued that if the judge allowed questioning to proceed, it should be after the election. Willis, on the other hand, denied the allegation that he was pursuing Kemp’s testimony for improper political purposes.
Carr stated in court documents that the “conclusion of the inquiry prior to the November 2022 election is unnecessary” due to the fact that the grand jury was authorized to continue its work until the following May.
McBurney was of the same opinion, and he came to the conclusion that “the sound and the prudent path is to let the election go without any more lawsuit or other activity involving the Governor’s role in the special purpose grand jury’s work.”
In a separate decision that was handed down on Monday, Judge McBurney rejected an application by Kenneth Chesebro’s legal team to have a subpoena for Chesebro’s testimony in front of the grand jury quashed.
The House committee that is looking into the disturbance that occurred on January 6, 2021, in the United States Capitol has stated that Chesebro was a supporter of a plan to put up “alternative electors” in states that Trump lost, including Georgia.
Willis stated that all 16 of the fraudulent electors in Georgia have been told that they are the subjects of her investigation in a court file that she submitted the previous month.
After being served with a subpoena a month ago, Chesebro argued that he should not be required to testify in front of the grand jury because “the entirety of his planned testimony is protected by the attorney-client privilege.”
McBurney agreed that some of his testimony about his work for the Trump campaign would be privileged, but he said that other areas wouldn’t be off-limits. These areas include his communications with Republican officials in the state and his “interactions with the individuals in Georgia seeking to prepare a slate of ‘alternate’ electors weeks after the final vote count showed former President Trump losing by over 10,000 votes,” according to McBurney.
Willis expressed optimism during a press conference she gave on Monday, saying that she believes the grand jury will wrap up its work before January.
“I believe that we have brought up around sixty percent of all of the folks who need to be brought up. Willis expressed his satisfaction with the rate at which we were progressing. “And I’m very hopeful that by the end of this year, I’ll be able to send the grand jury on its way,” she said. “And I’m very hopeful that I’ll be able to.”