Judge denies Georgia Governor Kemp’s motion to quash subpoena in election probe, but allows delay

A Georgia judge has rejected Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s attempt to overturn a subpoena for his testimony before a grand jury investigating possible criminal interference in the 2020 election.

Kemp’s Lawyers argued that he was beyond the reach of a subpoena because a governor should be protected by sovereign immunity and expressed concerns about the timing of the subpoena ahead of Kemp’s re-election this fall. Kemp received a subpoena on August 4, after an interview was canceled in July.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney agreed to delay Kemp’s testimony until “shortly” after the Nov. 8 election.

“After reviewing the pleadings, pleadings and relevant case law, the Court finds that it lacks jurisdiction and that the subpoena should not be set aside; the motion is DENIED,” McBurney said in a Monday . court order. “However, the court will delay the appearance of the governor before the special grand jury until a date shortly after the November 8, 2022 general election.”

Fani Willis, the Fulton County prosecutor, said at a press conference Monday that the grand jury was made up of about “60 percent” of the witnesses, and she added that she hopes by the end of the year, “I can send the grand jury on their way.”
Willis also dismissed the idea that the inquiry is “a political stunt” to “impact the election.” She pointed out that she did not call the first witnesses until the end of the primaries and said that she had “made it very clear to the judge” and his team that she would only take legal action. after the midterm elections.

A spokesman for the governor said he would work with authorities.

“Judge McBurney recognized the potential political impact of the timing of these proceedings and properly suspended the governor’s involvement until after the November election,” the spokesperson said. “Just as we have done since April 2021, we will work with the prosecutor’s office and the judge to ensure that a full account of the governor’s limited role in the matters under investigation is made available. of the special grand jury.”

Governor Governor Brian Kemp
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a school event in McDonough, Georgia on July 29, 2022.

Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“information indicating a reasonable likelihood” that the election was “subject to possible criminal disruption.” This investigation includes a January 2021 phone call between then-President Trump and Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump said, “I just want to find 11,780 votes.” Trump lost the election, but refused to admit it.

Other high-profile politicians named to appear in the investigation include Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giulani and Senator Linsey Graham of South Carolina.

Kemp and Raffensperger have drawn Trump’s ire for insisting there was no mass fraud in the 2020 presidential election and refusing to follow the then-president’s efforts to influence election results.

— Sophie Reardon contributed to this report

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