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First on CNN: Georgia state GOP lawmakers file motion to quash subpoenas to appear in front of special grand jury investigating Trump

By Jason Morris, CNN

An attorney representing subpoenaed members of Georgia’s General Assembly has filed a motion with the Superior Court of Fulton County asking to quash subpoenas for at least two GOP state lawmakers to appear as witnesses in front of the special purpose grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn election results.

The motion was filed with the Superior Court of Fulton County on Monday by Atlanta-area defense attorney Don Samuel, who is acting in the capacity of legislative counsel to represent members of Georgia’s state legislature who have been subpoenaed to appear as witnesses by the special purpose grand jury convened in Fulton County.

Listed by Samuel on the court document obtained by CNN are Georgia Republican State Sen. William Ligon, Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan “and others.”

“The Georgia Constitution provides privilege and immunity protections to legislators and their staff,” Samuel wrote in the motion, saying that committee members should be “free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly.”

“The witnesses urge the Court to enter an Order holding that Legislative Immunity and Privilege bars the DA from demanding the appearance of any Member at the Grand Jury to respond to questions relating to the Member’s legislative duties and holding that the DA may not ask any witness to reveal any communications involving the Member and any other person relating to the Member’s legislative duties,” Samuel argued in the motion.

Samuel was hired by the Georgia General Assembly, so is available to represent both Republicans and Democrats who serve in the state legislature and want to use him as counsel.

Arguments on Samuel’s motion to quash subpoenas are scheduled to be heard this Friday in front of Superior Court of Fulton County Judge Robert McBurney.

Giuliani’s activities at center of investigation

As part of her investigation, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has sought evidence on potential crimes including solicitation of election fraud, making false statements to state and local government bodies, and conspiracy. Her investigators are also scrutinizing Rudy Giuliani’s appearance before state lawmakers in 2020, where he peddled baseless claims of voter fraud and encouraged legislators to appoint a new slate of presidential electors.

The special purpose grand jury heard testimony from at least four witnesses regarding Giuliani’s activities at the Georgia statehouse last week. Three of those witnesses were Georgia Democratic lawmakers who testified this week and were present at the state Capitol when Giuliani and other Trump lawyers shared conspiracy theory-laden claims of voter fraud in December 2020.

On December 3, 2020, state Sen. Jen Jordan and state Sen. Elena Parent — both of whom confirmed to CNN they testified before the grand jury — were present at the Georgia Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing about election integrity in which Giuliani, then a Trump lawyer, spread conspiracy theories about what he referred to as widespread irregularities and fraud in the state.

“The focus seemed to be obviously this senate subcommittee meeting where Giuliani was present and effectively did his dog and pony show without anyone pushing back,” Jordan, a Democrat, told CNN in an interview about her grand jury testimony.

DA also looking at fake electors scheme

Willis has also said she is looking into the fake Electoral College certifications that Trump’s backers put forward in Georgia as part of her investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

An email in which the Trump campaign directed a group of Georgia Republicans to meet in secret and obscure their objectives was obtained by federal prosecutors as part of their recent investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in several swing states and is also part of evidence in Willis’ Georgia investigation.

The Georgia email was sent by Robert Sinners, Trump’s election day operations lead in Georgia on December 13, 2020, 18 hours before the group of alternate electors gathered at the Georgia state capitol, according to multiple sources familiar with it.

“I must ask for your complete discretion in this process,” Sinners wrote. “Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result — a win in Georgia for President Trump — but will be hampered unless we have complete secrecy and discretion.”

The email underscores the Trump campaign’s role in creating false election documents as a way to supplant Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. CNN previously reported that Trump campaign officials oversaw efforts to put forward illegitimate electors in seven swing states Trump lost.

In the email, Sinners also told Trump’s electors to misdirect security guards when they arrived at the statehouse, and to tell the guards they were attending a meeting with two state senators, Brandon Beach and Burt Jones.

Sinners previously told CNN that he was working at the direction of Trump campaign attorneys and the Georgia GOP chairman David Shafer, who was an elector. “I was advised by attorneys that this was necessary in order to preserve the pending legal challenge’s longevity,” Sinners said.

“Following the former President’s refusal to accept the results of the election and allow a peaceful transition of power, my views on this matter have changed significantly from where they were on December 13,” Sinners added. He now works in the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who resisted pressure from Trump after the election.

Earlier this year, both Jones and Beach were also stripped of their state senate committee assignments by Duncan for their role in backing baseless allegations of voter fraud related to the presidential election.

Beach was stripped of his chairmanship of the Transportation committee and Jones was removed as chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee.

Jones and Beach did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

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CNN’s Sara Murray, Katelyn Polantz, Zachary Cohen, Evan Perez and Kelly Mena contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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