Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been slowly and methodically investigating former President Donald Trump and his close confidants and the roles they played in 2020 election meddling. Now, the question is: After demanding testimony from Trump’s former cronies, should Trump himself also be handed a subpoena to testify?
Norm Eisen, a lawyer who co-authored a Brookings Institution report analyzing the case, asks, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), “What effect would asking ... or subpoenaing him to testify have on that timetable if it turned into an extended court battle?”
The AJC additionally suggests that subpoenaing Trump could be useless. As Daily Kos’ Brandi Buchman noted, when Trump was deposed by lawyers at the New York Attorney General’s office investigating whether the Trump Organization defrauded or misled lenders by tweaking the value of his properties and assets, the former president pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination 440 times.
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Don Samuel, an Atlanta defense attorney representing Georgia legislators in the Fulton County investigation, tells the AJC, “I’m not quite sure what the point of calling him to the grand jury is [...] I assume his lawyer would tell him, ‘You should not be sitting there answering questions.’”
Nationally known professor and public interest law practitioner John Banzhaf told the AJC that if Willis doesn’t subpoena and indict Trump, “there will be suspicion by many that she wimped out.” Banzhaf added that “If she doesn’t call him and does indict him, then he and his supporters will claim that he didn’t get his chance to tell his story, that she presented a very one-sided position to the grand jury.”
The special grand jury convened by Willis has asked for testimony from a slew of top Trump associates, including his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and notorious conspiracy theorist, disgraced attorney, and Trump campaign adviser Sidney Powell, POLITICO reports.
According to a petition filed Aug. 19, Willis’ office requested that Meadows appear for testimony on Sept. 27.
At the end of August, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tried every trick in the book to avoid testifying to the special grand jury in Georgia empaneled to hear evidence of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In a brief filed by his attorneys on Aug. 24, Graham reasoned that the subpoena was invalid based on a rarely used section of the U.S. Constitution.
“The Constitution guarantees that a Senator ‘shall not be questioned’ about his protected ‘Speech or Debate’—and yet the District Attorney insists that Senator Graham must submit to questioning to ascertain whether he can be questioned or is immune from questioning. That makes no sense,” Graham’s motion reads.
With just 54 days until the midterm elections, Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp may have rebuffed former President Trump’s attempts to illegally call for a special session of the state legislature to reverse Joe Biden’s win in 2021, but that doesn’t mean he can slip out of testifying in the ongoing criminal investigation.
Kemp’s attorneys are trying everything to save the incumbent governor from giving a sworn statement. According to reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kemp’s attorneys on Wednesday filed a motion to quash a subpoena demanding that their client testify before the Fulton County special grand jury.
A judge in the case ultimately ruled that Kemp will have to testify, but will be able to wait until after the Nov. 8 election.
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