ATLANTA (AP) – Republican U.S. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia has been subpoenaed to testify before a special grand jury investigating whether former President Donald Trump and others illegally attempted to interfere in the state‘s 2020 election.
The subpoena, which Hice received on June 29, orders him to appear before the special grand jury in Atlanta on Tuesday, his attorney said in a court filing. This filing seeks to hear the matter in federal court rather than the Fulton County Superior Court judge overseeing the special jury.
“Because Congressman Hice is a member of the United States House of Representatives and is being asked to testify pursuant to a state-issued subpoena, the Federal Official Removal Act should apply and therefore this lawsuit should be removed,” Attorney Loree said in federal court at Anne Paradise wrote in the filing on Friday.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched an investigation early last year into whether Trump and his allies committed any crimes while trying to overturn his narrow election loss in the state. At her request, a special grand jury with subpoena powers was set up in May.
A number of senior Republican officials — including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Attorney General Chris Carr — have already testified before the special panel. Governor Brian Kemp will issue an affidavit on July 25.
Hice, who will leave office in January after an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Raffensperger, was one of several GOP lawmakers attending a December 2020 White House meeting where Trump allies discussed various ways Joe Biden would win the election cancel. Hice joined other members of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative wing of the chamber, for the hour-long meeting to discuss two specific strategies for undermining the election results with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
The first was an attempt to nominate an alternate list of voters who would falsely declare Trump the victor in seven battleground states won by Biden. The second was a plan to launch a pressure campaign against then-Vice President Mike Pence for disregarding the true electoral votes of those seven states when he chaired the ceremonial certification process on January 6, 2021.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Meadows aide, revealed the details of the White House meeting to the House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot in the US Capitol.
Earlier this month, Willis started a process to subpoena witnesses from other states to testify. This included some close Trump advisers and allies, including US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who also served as Trump’s attorney.
Graham has a hearing in federal court in South Carolina later this week to try and thwart Willis’ attempt to get him to testify.
Willis, a Democrat, has charged that she is interested in the actions of the group of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a charter as an alternative electoral roll that falsely says Trump won the state, when in fact it was Biden who got the most votes.
Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri in Washington contributed to this report.