Gov. Brian Kemp moves to quash grand jury subpoena into alleged election interference

Georgia’s governor is ask for more time to work with investigators after this fall’s midterms
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 4:06 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Gov. Brian Kemp has filed a motion to quash a subpoena to appear before the Fulton County grand jury investigating claims of alleged interference in the outcome of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

The motion came on the same day that former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, testified before that same grand jury.

“For more than a year, the governor’s team has continually expressed his desire to provide a full accounting of his very limited role in the issues being looked at by the special grand jury,” according to a spokesperson for the governor’s office. “We are now just weeks away from the 2022 general election making it increasingly difficult to dedicate the time necessary to prepare and then appear.

“With the special grand jury empaneled until May 2023, we are simply asking the judge to allow the Governor to come in after the November election and direct investigators to work with our legal team to ensure the topics discussed during his appearance remains on his defense of state law and the Constitution in the aftermath of the 2020 election.”

Kemp is facing a reelection challenge from Democrat Stacey Abrams, who he defeated in 2018′s open gubernatorial race by only a few thousand votes, an election that Abrams has yet to concede.

Last year, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened a criminal investigation “into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election.” A special grand jury with subpoena power was seated in May at her request. In court filings earlier this month, she alleged “a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

Willis is leading a Fulton County grand jury investigation about an alleged plot involving 16 Republicans who served as fake electors.

Wednesday’s motion said Kemp welcomes “opportunities to explain and defend his actions. However, the Subpoena ignores — and more importantly, the DA’s Office has refused to account for — the serious privileges it implicates in relation to the testimony of a sitting Governor.

“Additional, through delay and artificial deadlines, the DA’s Office has engineered the Governor’s interaction with the investigation to reach a crescendo in the middle of an election cycle. This timing cannot be ignored given the Governor’s repeated efforts to engage with the DA’s Office prior to 2022 and even before announcing his re-election campaign.

“In fact, the Governor agreed to a voluntary interview to be held on July 25, 2022, but when counsel for the Governor asked reasonable questions of the DA’s Office regarding the scope of that interview, the DA’s Office unilaterally canceled the interview and issued the Subpoena. Why the DA’s Office acted so abruptly is unclear,” the motion said.

Willis, according to the Associated Press, has said she is considering calling Trump himself to testify before the special grand jury.

In response, Trump has hired three of metro Atlanta’s most prominent criminal defense attorneys: Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Dwight Thomas.

Last week, the FBI searched Trump’s Florida home as part of its investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. He is also facing a civil investigation in New York over allegations that his company, the Trump Organization, misled banks and tax authorities about the value of his assets.

And the Justice Department is investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters as well as allegations that he and his allies attempted to overturn the election he claims was stolen.