Fulton County D.A. subpoenas Raffensperger, ex-investigator for testimony in Meadows’ bid to move case

Fulton County D.A. subpoenas Raffensperger, ex-investigator for testimony in Meadows’ bid to move case

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Washington — Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has issued subpoenas to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and a former chief investigator in his office compelling them to testify at a hearing Monday over Mark Meadows’ effort to move his prosecution over an alleged attempt to reverse the outcome of Georgia’s 2020 election to federal court.

Willis revealed the subpoenas in a pair of filings with the federal district court in Atlanta on Thursday that included the notices commanding Raffensperger and Frances Watson, former chief investigator of the Georgia secretary of state’s Investigations Division, to testify at the hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.

The proceeding ordered by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones will focus on the attempt by Meadows, former President Donald Trump’s last White House chief of staff, to move his criminal case from the Fulton County Superior Court to federal district court.

Meadows is among the 19 defendants charged in the state racketeering case brought by Willis over an alleged scheme to overturn Trump’s electoral loss in Georgia. He faces two counts for allegedly violating Georgia’s racketeering law and allegedly soliciting a Georgia public officer to violate his oath of office.

Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks to the press in Statuary Hall at the Capitol on Aug. 22, 2020.
Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks to the press in Statuary Hall at the Capitol on Aug. 22, 2020.

Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images


Meadows argued that his case should be heard in federal court because the conduct detailed in the indictment related to his work a White House employee, and his status as a federal officer protects him from being arrested and brought to trial in state court.

“Nothing Mr. Meadows is alleged in the indictment to have done is criminal per se: arranging Oval Office meetings, contacting state officials on the President’s behalf, visiting a state government building, and setting up a phone call for the President,” Meadows’ lawyers told the court last week. “One would expect a Chief of Staff to the President of the United States to do these sorts of things.”

Trump’s former chief of staff also asked Jones to postpone his surrender to Fulton County law enforcement — Willis imposed  a deadline of noon Friday for Meadows and the others charged to turn themselves in — as his attempt to move his case out of state court is litigated.

Jones, though, rejected Meadows’ request, writing in an order that federal law doesn’t allow for interference by a federal court at this point in the case.

“The clear statutory language for removing a criminal prosecution, does not support an injunction or temporary stay prohibiting District Attorney Willis’s enforcement or execution of the arrest warrant against Meadows,” the judge said.

Willis has opposed Meadows’ attempt to move the case to federal court, calling it “baseless and in direct contravention with the requirements of the law.”

“Here, the defendant does not allege that his prosecution is taken in bad faith, that there is no hope of obtaining a valid conviction, or that it is being taken to harass the defendant,” she and prosecutors in her office wrote. “The defendant is simply requesting that this Court prevent him from being lawfully arrested as any criminal defendant would be after indictment on felony charges by a grand jury.”

The indictment returned by the Fulton County grand jury last week notes that Meadows participated in a Jan. 2, 2021, call between Trump and Raffensperger, during which the former president urged Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” 11,870 votes, the number needed for Trump to defeat Joe Biden in the state.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks to the media about early voting progress on Oct. 25, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks to the media about early voting progress on Oct. 25, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images


Meadows also traveled to Cobb County, Georgia, on Dec. 22, 2020, and attempted to observe the signature match audit being performed there by Georgia Bureau of Investigation officers and the secretary of state’s office, even though it wasn’t open to the public, according to the indictment. He allegedly spoke with Watson and others, who stopped him from entering the place where the audit was being conducted.

The 98-page charging document claims Meadows arranged a Dec. 23, 2020, call Trump made to Watson. During the call, Trump falsely claimed he won the November 2020 election in Georgia and told Watson “when the right answer comes out you’ll be praised,” according to the indictment.

Meadows allegedly sent Watson a text message on Dec. 27, 2020, asking whether there was “a way to speed up Fulton county signature verification in order to have results before Jan 6 if the trump campaign assist financially,” the indictment states. Jan. 6, 2021, is the date Congress convened to tally state electoral votes and reaffirm Mr. Biden’s win. The joint session was disrupted when a violent mob breached the Capitol building, leading to a pause in the proceedings.

Meadows’ lawyers told the court that these acts forming the basis of the charges against him “all fall squarely within his conduct as Chief of Staff.”

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