Judge rules Kemp must testify in grand jury probe, agrees to delay testimony

DA leading investigation into alleged 2020 election interference in Fulton County | Governor says he’ll cooperate
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 10:12 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2022 at 12:44 PM EDT

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Gov. Brian Kemp’s move to quash a Fulton County grand jury subpoena investigating alleged 2020 general election interference was denied Monday morning.

However, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney has agreed to allow Kemp to testify after this year’s midterm elections, set for Nov. 8.

Lawyers for Kemp had argued that immunities related to his position as governor protect him from having to testify.

“Having considered the pleadings, oral arguments, and relevant case law, the Court finds that it does enjoy jurisdiction and that the subpoena should not be quashed; the motion is DENIED. However, the Court will delay the Governor’s appearance before the special purpose grand jury until some date soon after the 8 November 2022 general election.”

Last week, Kemp filed the motion to quash the subpoena 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.”

“Judge McBurney acknowledged the potential political impact of the timing of these proceedings and correctly paused the Governor’s involvement until after the November election,” a spokesperson for the governor said. “Just as we have since April 2021, we will work with the DA’s office and the judge to ensure a full accounting of the Governor’s limited role in the issues being investigated is available to the special grand jury.”

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.