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US judge orders Trump’s ex-chief of staff to testify in Georgia election probe

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Oct 27, 2022 - 01:40 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – A state judge ordered on Wednesday Mark Meadows, former US President Donald Trump’s one-time chief of staff, to testify before a grand jury in the US state of Georgia that is in the midst of an investigation into 2020 election interference.

“I am going to find that the witness is material and necessary to the investigation and that the state of Georgia is assuring not to cause undue hardship to him,” South Carolina Judge Edward Miller said during a morning hearing, according to CNN.

Miller was hearing the case because Meadows is a resident of South Carolina. Meadows had been fighting against having to testify and his lawyers have reportedly said they will launch an appeal. Senator Lindsey Graham, who has also been subpoenaed in Georgia, has taken his case to the US Supreme Court and is awaiting a verdict.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas granted Graham a brief reprieve Monday while the top court evaluates his emergency application.

The Georgia investigation is being led by Fani Willis, the Futon County district attorney. The state has appointed what is known as a special purpose grand jury to investigate attempts to meddle in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results, including the now notorious Jan. 2, 2021, call in which Trump implored Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes that would aid him.

It is also investigating other efforts to interfere in the results, including a “fake electors” scandal that involved people in key battleground states, including Georgia, purporting to be state-sanctioned officials, falsely claiming Trump won the election. At least 11 fake presidential electors have been subpoenaed by the grand jury.

President Joe Biden narrowly won in Georgia in 2020, besting Trump by less than 12,000 votes.

Trump has claimed without evidence that the election was stolen from him, citing what he says is widespread voter fraud.

But his allegations were repeatedly shot down in court in roughly 60 separate decisions and they were rejected by his former Attorney General William Barr who stepped down from office in the final days of Trump’s presidency amid mounting pressure from the former commander-in-chief.

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