Raffensperger expected to be subpoenaed for Meadows’ Fulton hearing

Two attorneys involved in Trump-Raffensperger call also summoned
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks to the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce in Tucker on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (Katelyn Myrick/katelyn.myrick@ajc.com)

Credit: Katelyn Myrick/AJC

Credit: Katelyn Myrick/AJC

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks to the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce in Tucker on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (Katelyn Myrick/katelyn.myrick@ajc.com)

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been told he will be subpoenaed to provide testimony at a court hearing in which former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will argue the Fulton County case against him should be removed to federal court.

Raffensperger had not received the subpoena from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office as of Wednesday morning, according to a source familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak on the record.

Willis is expected to argue in an evidentiary hearing in federal court on Monday that all proceedings should stay in Fulton Superior Court.

Spokespeople for Raffensperger and the DA declined to comment.

Meadows made his push for removal last week, a day after a Fulton grand jury handed up two charges against him in conjunction with a broader 41-count elections interference case, which also ensnared former President Donald Trump and 17 others. Meadows was charged with racketeering and solicitation of violation of oath of by a public officer.

On Tuesday, two Trump-aligned attorneys who listened in on the Jan. 2, 2021, call that the then-president placed to Raffensperger, Kurt Hilbert and Alex Kaufman, were served subpoenas to appear at next week’s hearing, according to court records.

Under the so-called federal removal statute, federal officials charged with crimes are allowed to transfer a state criminal case to federal court if they can prove the alleged criminal behavior was carried out as part of their official duties.

Meadows has also argued he’s immune from state prosecution for the work he did while he was carrying out his White House job.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones will hold a hearing on the matter Monday morning.

Raffensperger can speak to several of the episodes cited in the indictment, as well as which election-related matters are state responsibilities versus federal. Willis is expected to argue that Meadows — and by extension Trump — was acting far outside of his official duties.

Also on Tuesday, Meadows asked that a federal court issue an order preventing his arrest in Fulton until after Jones hears the removal case.

In an emergency motion, Meadows included an email from Willis rejecting his attorneys’ request to delay his surrender at the Fulton County Jail — to which the DA said all 19 of the case’s defendants must abide by Friday at noon — until after Monday’s hearing.

“I gave 2 weeks for people to surrender themselves to the court. Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction,” Willis wrote to Meadows’ lawyers. “The two weeks was a tremendous courtesy. At 12:30 p.m. on Friday I shall file warrants in the system.”

Jones said Tuesday that no cameras will be allowed in his courtroom next week.

The indictment cites several sets of actions Meadows allegedly undertook between November 2020 and January 2021 in relation to vote counts in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

It mentions his unannounced December 2020 visit to the Cobb County Civic Center as a signature match audit was underway and his successful effort to put Trump in touch with Frances Watson, then the secretary of state’s chief investigator who was helping carry out the audit.

A few days later, Meadows allegedly texted Watson and asked whether there was a way to speed up a signature verification audit in Fulton that Trump was seeking so it could be completed before the Electoral College vote was finalized on Jan. 6, according to the indictment, which called that act and others “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”

Meadows was also charged with solicitation of violation of oath of public officer for his role in the Trump-Raffensperger phone call. The indictment alleges that Meadows and Trump were trying to prompt Raffensperger to commit a felony “by unlawfully altering, unlawfully adjusting, and otherwise unlawfully influencing the certified returns for presidential electors for the November 3, 2020, presidential election in Georgia.”

Several defendants in the case, including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and “alternate” GOP elector David Shafer, have separately filed for federal removal. Others are expected to follow suit in the days ahead, including Trump.