South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Edward Miller ruled Wednesday that Meadows must comply with the subpoena because his testimony was “important and necessary to the investigation, and Georgia assured him that it would not be undue hardship.”
Willis’ spokesman, Jeff DeSantis, confirmed the ruling on Wednesday. DeSantis said Meadows won’t be called until after the midterm elections.
An appeal or additional legal action is possible, a lawyer for Meadows said Wednesday.
“The trial judge may conduct additional proceedings before making any decision on the appeal,” said Meadows attorney George J. Twillig.
Before becoming Trump’s White House chief of staff, Meadows served four terms in Congress from North Carolina, where he helped promote Trump’s unfounded claims that widespread voter fraud handed over the presidency to Joe Biden. Meadows said he now lives in South Carolina, although he used the North Carolina mobile home address to register to vote in 2020.
In a petition seeking testimony from Meadows, Willis noted that Meadows was involved in a phone call made by Trump on Jan. 1. February 2, 2021 to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffinsperger (right), asking him to “find” the 11,780 votes that would allow Trump to defeat Biden in the state.
‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In special hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recount votes in his favor
Willis wrote that she was also interested in testimony about December. On February 21, 2020, Meadows met with Trump and others at the White House “to discuss allegations of voter fraud and proof of Electoral College voting in Georgia and other states.”
Willis also noted in the petition that, on December 22, 2020, Meadows “unexpectedly visited” the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta, Georgia, where the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating. Signatures of absentee ballots are audited.
There, Meadows “requested to observe the audit process in person, but was prevented from doing so because the audit was not open to the public,” Willis wrote.
Meadows had tried to dismiss the Georgia subpoena, citing executive privilege, arguing that a Georgia special grand jury was conducting a civil investigation, not a criminal proceeding that required his testimony. Willis has said the investigation by a special grand jury focuses on criminal conduct.
Meadows’ South Carolina attorney James W. Bannister argued in court filings that the subpoena was moot because the September date when his testimony was originally sought has passed.
Meadows’ ruling came on Wednesday as another prominent Republican senator. Lindsey O. Graham (SC) has appealed to the Supreme Court to block a request for his testimony.
Graham argued that he didn’t have to testify through the constitutional protections afforded to lawmakers in public service.
On Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily set aside Graham’s order to appear in court. With Graham’s petition to the Supreme Court, the brief order appears to be an attempt to maintain the status quo. Prosecutors face a Thursday deadline to respond to Graham’s plea, which usually means the entire courtroom will consider the issue.
Last week, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously rejected Graham’s attempt to block Willis’ subpoena. The lawmaker claimed in the court that a sitting senator is barred from testifying in such an investigation.
Despite resistance from Graham, Meadows and others, a Georgia grand jury heard testimony from prominent Trump advisers, including attorneys Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn are awaiting testimony requests.
Many Georgia Republican officials testified. The list includes Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff, Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr (R), state legislators and local election workers. The state’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp filed a 121-page motion in August to try to cancel a subpoena for him to testify. The judge overseeing the investigation agreed to delay the governor’s court appearance until after the 2022 election. Camp is seeking re-election.