Georgia governor seeks to distance himself from Trump investigation

ATLANTA – Governor Brian Kemp is one of the Georgia Republican Party officials who refused to help Donald J. Trump flip his 2020 election defeat in the state – a decision that has taken him. being hailed as a hero in some quarters.

And yet, on Thursday, Mr. Kemp’s lawyers were in an Atlanta courtroom arguing that the governor shouldn’t need to help with the ongoing criminal investigation into election interference by How to testify before a special jury. Mr. Kemp’s legal team accused Fani T. Willis, a Democrat and local prosecutor leading the investigation, of politicizing the investigation and wanted any testimony to come after. at the close of polls on his re-election bid in November.

In a sign of how her case is expanding, Miss Willis also moved on Thursday to gather testimony from several additional Trump advisers, including Mark Meadows, a former White House chief of staff, and Sidney Powell, an attorney who promoted the most aggressive conspiracy theories falsely claiming that the election of the year. 2020 has been stolen. And Ms. Willis indicated in court filings that her investigation now includes “an allegation of an election data breach” in rural Coffee County, Ga., as part of a larger effort by the states. Trump’s allies aim infiltrate the electoral system in rotated state.

In court, attorneys for Kemp made several arguments as to why he should not comply with the subpoena, but they were rejected by Judge Robert CI McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court, who not released immediately. a judgment.

S. Derek Bauer, one of Mr.

Mr Kemp, who is locked in a tight race for re-election with Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, has managed to maintain a difficult balancing act since not being well-groomed by Mr. The former president vented his displeasure with Kemp in 2020 after the governor refused Trump’s request to convene a special session of the Georgia Legislature so that a group of pro-Trump electors could have a meeting. could be named in lieu of the legitimate ones Joseph R. Biden Jr., who defeated Mr. Trump with just under 12,000 votes in the state.

At one point, Mr. Trump called Mr. Kemp “The worst ‘electoral integrity’ governor in the country.”

Since then, even as his name elicits a barrage of boos from Trump loyalists at rallies and Republican events, Mr. Kemp has found a way to survive politically. treat. In May, he crushed Mr. Trump’s handpicked Republican primary candidate, David Perdue, a former US senator, by focusing on his record on policy achievements. conservative and economically successful, and largely avoided the subject of Mr.

But the general election battle presents a complex set of calculations of its own. Although polls in recent months show Mr Kemp leading Ms Abrams, she is a formidable fundraiser hoping to fuel a wave of demographic change and new concerns about access. Republican overreach on issues like abortion.

Charles S. Bullock III, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia, said Mr Kemp may be wary of removing some central voters, but the deeper risk could be to lose ground. Mr. Trump’s story in Georgia.

“He couldn’t stay away from them,” says Dr. Bullock. “I mean, he’s in a pretty good position right now, like Glenn Youngkin in Virginia,” he added, referring to that state’s governor, a Republican who has kept his distance from Mr. during his 2021 election campaign.

“He is not considered a Trump man,” Dr. Bullock said of Mr. Kemp. “But on the other hand, he was very careful not to alienate Trump voters. So maybe that’s why he doesn’t want to testify now, fearing that one day the things he said will be seen as negative by the Trumps and they might go against him. . “

Mr Kemp’s team asserts in its legal filing that “through artificial delay and deadlines, their DA engineered the governor’s interaction with the investigation to culminate in the mid-cycle.” election.” His lawyers also claim that Ms Willis’ team of prosecutors refused to promise and mistreated Kemp’s team as they worked behind the scenes to create a way for Mr Kemp to testify voluntarily.

Ms. Willis and her team have vigorously denied those assertions and said her office gave the governor plenty of time and first began negotiating with him last year, but his attorney took the matter. making unreasonable requests, including wanting to preview questions.

Amid the stalemate, Ms Abrams apparently calculated that Mr Kemp had made an irresistible error that allowed them to remind central voters that Mr Kemp, before his vehement break with Mr Trump, was the an early and fervent adopter of Trumpism. A typical 2018 internet ad for Mr Kemp featured a photo of Mr Trump and a simple quote of him: “Very important, go out and vote for Brian!”

Now, Ms. Abrams is aware of Kemp’s move to delay testimony. One video she shared Last week, the day after Mr. Kemp’s attorneys filed a motion to cancel the subpoena from the district attorney’s office, which began with the words, “Why didn’t Brian Kemp testify in court?” She also told CNN Kemp “has based on this view that he is an anti-Trump moderate, but we know that he has described himself as a Trump conservative”.

She added: “If he cared about the state of our democracy as much as he would expect people to think he was, he would appear for this all-important subpoena and he He will provide a timely testimony.”

Lawyers for Mr Kemp argued that his subpoena should be dropped for a number of reasons. Calling on the governor to testify very close to the November election, they wrote in a court filing, “at best disclosure, disregard for unnecessary risk to the political process, and at worst a attempt to influence the November 2022 election cycle.”

On Thursday, they argued that the subpoena was invalid based on the concept of sovereign immunity, which prohibits state governments from being sued. Fulton County Chief Justice Donald Wakeford declined, saying it was a subpoena, not a lawsuit. “Why does sovereign immunity apply to that?” he say.

Kemp’s lawyers also raised the issue of “executive privilege,” the idea that executive branch leaders should be allowed to keep certain information related to their official duties secret.

At one point, speaking to the governor’s attorneys, Judge McBurney noted that the concept of executive privilege does not exist in state law nor in case law. “You’re looking to bring that concept into this situation,” he said.

The special grand jury began meeting in June and was tasked with one job: to look at attempts to disrupt the legitimate conduct of the 2020 Georgia election. It has no power to return charges. but will ultimately make recommendations on whether criminal prosecutions are warranted. Those recommendations could be made by a regular grand jury that has the power to prosecute suspects.

Willis’ investigation has identified at least 18 people as possible targets to face criminal charges, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s former personal attorney. More than 30 people came before the special jury; Ms Willis said she was looking into a range of potential charges, including conspiracy and fraud.

On Thursday, as Governor Kemp’s legal team was working, Jenna Ellis, one of the attorneys who advised Mr. Trump on his strategy to dismiss the outcome of the 2020 election, was expected to come out. testify before a special grand jury.

The district attorney’s office said in its legal filing that Ms. Ellis “wrote at least two legal memos on her own to former President Donald Trump and his attorneys” advising “that Deputy President Mike Pence should purposefully ignore certified Electoral College votes from Georgia and others “disputing states by January 6, 2021.” The office calls this “” part of the Trump campaign’s multifaceted coordination plan to target the November 2020 election results in Georgia and elsewhere.” Ellis’ attorney declined to comment.

Another lawyer who advised Mr. Trump, Kenneth Chesebro, filed a petition on Thursday seeking to rescind a subpoena requesting his testimony, alleging he was shielded by privilege. of attorney-client. Additionally, Judge McBurney on Thursday rejected an attempt by 11 of the Georgia Republicans who had tried to act as Trump’s electors to remove Willis from their case.

Court records filed on Thursday show that prosecutors are also seeking testimony from Phil Waldrona Texas bar owner and former military colonel with knowledge of information warfare who appeared in December 2020 before a Georgia Senate committee investigating election fraud.

Sean Keenan contributed reporting.

Source link


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button