The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows must testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible illegal interference by former President Donald Trump and his allies in the 2020 election.
“We have reviewed the arguments raised by [Meadows] and find them to be manifestly without merit,” the justices wrote in a unanimous opinion that upheld a lower court’s ruling, according to POLITICO.
Meadows will now be compelled to testify in front of a Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury investigation led by District Attorney Fani Willis.
Willis has pursued testimony from Meadows and other high-profile Republicans as part of her probe into the 76-year-old former president’s efforts to influence the outcome of the Georgia election, including his phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he instructed the state official to “find” votes.
Meadows, who held a prominent role at the White House in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6. 2021, Capitol riot, traveled to Georgia during the state’s post-2020 election audit and was on the Jan. 2, 2021, call with Trump and Raffensperger.
In order to force Meadows’s testimony, Willis had to obtain the approval of local courts in South Carolina, where the former Trump aide lives. A five-member panel on the state’s Supreme Court found in favor of the Atlanta-area prosecutor.
Meadows had argued that his appearance before the grand jury was blocked by executive privilege.
The ruling comes a week after Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) provided his own forced testimony in the same case after months of legal wrangling.
Graham is alleged to have made a number of phone calls to Raffensperger in the weeks after Trump’s loss in the Peach State that have drawn the interest of investigators.
The senator argued that his calls to Raffensperger were “legislative fact-finding” as part of his due diligence before the Jan. 6, 2021, vote to certify the election results. He claimed that being compelled to testify about the calls would violate his rights under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which protects lawmakers from legal liability for actions while conducting official business.
Raffensperger, who was re-elected as Georgia’s secretary of state on Nov. 8, has already provided his testimony before the Fulton County grand jury.