Judge orders Gingrich to testify in Georgia election probe

Nov 9, 2022, 10:38 AM | Updated: 3:56 pm
FILE - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at an America First Policy Institute agenda summit...

FILE - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at an America First Policy Institute agenda summit in Washington, July 26, 2022. A judge has ordered Newt Gingrich to testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta that is investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia. The former U.S. House Speaker argued that he shouldn’t have to testify. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich must comply with a subpoena seeking his testimony in front of a special grand jury in Georgia investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to influence that state’s 2020 election results, a Virginia judge ruled Wednesday.

Gingrich, who lives in northern Virginia, had argued that the federal law that normally requires states to honor out-of-state grand jury summonses should not apply in this case because the special grand jury lacks the power to indict. He also argued that the subpoena would be unnecessarily duplicative and burdensome because he has already agreed to testify in front of a congressional select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and that his testimony in both matters would essentially be the same.

But Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Robert Smith sided with prosecutors who said the subpoena should be enforced. The judge said the law doesn’t parse out a difference between regular grand juries and special grand juries, as Gingrich’s lawyer argued.

“I think I have to read the statute as written,” the judge said.

Gingrich’s lawyer, John Burlingame, said he expects to appeal the ruling. If the appeal fails, Gingrich will be required to testify to the special grand jury on Nov. 29.

Gingrich declined comment after the hearing.

Gingrich, a Republican, is one of several high-profile Trump allies who have unsuccessfully tried to avoid testifying.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation early last year, shortly after a recording of a call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was made public. In that call, Trump urged Raffersperger, the state’s top elections official and a fellow Republican, to “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss in the state to Democrat Joe Biden.

The scope of the investigation has broadened considerably since then, and Willis, a Democrat, has sought the testimony of dozens of witnesses, including numerous Trump attorneys, advisers and associates since the special grand jury was seated in May. It is among several cases that have the former president in potential legal jeopardy as he prepares to launch a 2024 presidential campaign.

Because Gingrich lives outside Georgia, Willis had to use a process that involves asking a judge where he lives to order him to appear.

Willis filed that paperwork in court in Atlanta last month, and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who’s overseeing the special grand jury, certified that Gingrich is a “necessary and material witness for the investigation.” In her petition seeking Gingrich’s testimony as a witness, Willis said she relied on information made public by the House committee that’s investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

The petition says Gingrich was involved along with others associated with the Trump campaign in a plan to run television ads that “repeated and relied upon false claims about fraud in the 2020 election” and encouraged members of the public to contact state officials to push them to challenge and overturn the election results based on those false claims.

Gingrich was also involved in a plan to have Republican fake electors sign certificates falsely stating that Trump had won the state and that they were the state’s official electors even though Biden had won, the petition says.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Burlingame said the information sought by the Georgia special grand jury overlaps entirely with the congressional investigation, so there’s no need to require Gingrich to testify twice, since the Georgia prosecutor can obtain the transcript of Gingrich’s upcoming testimony to the congressional committee.

“They’re very thorough,” Burlingame said of the congressional investigators. “It almost sounds like the Fulton County district attorney is concerned that the professional attorneys for the select committee aren’t going to be doing a capable job. Your Honor, I assure you they will.”

Fairfax County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kyle Mandelbaum acknowledged there may be overlap in the two investigations but said it would be wrong to assume they have identical interests.

“The grand jury in Fulton County is specifically looking at the question of whether or not Georgia law was violated which is not necessarily the focus of the January 6 committee’s investigation,” Mandelbaum said.

The subpoena provides him immunity for his testimony and covers his lodging and transportation costs, Mandelbaum said.

Special grand juries in Georgia are generally used to investigate complex cases with many witnesses. They can compel evidence and subpoena testimony from witnesses, but they cannot issue indictments. Once its investigation is complete, a special grand jury can recommend action, but it remains up to the district attorney to decide whether to then seek an indictment from a regular grand jury.


Associated Press writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Policemen pin down and detain a protester during a protest on a street in Shanghai, China on...
Associated Press

China security forces are well-prepared for quashing dissent

BEIJING (AP) — When it comes to ensuring the security of their regime, China’s Communist Party rulers don’t skimp. The extent of that lavish spending was put on display when the boldest street protests in decades broke out in Beijing and other cities, driven by anger over rigid and seemingly unending restrictions to combat COVID-19. […]
20 hours ago
FILE- The logo of Tesla model 3 is seen at the Auto show on Oct. 3, 2018, in Paris. Tesla delivered...
Associated Press

Tesla delivers electric semis to PepsiCo at Nevada factory

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla delivered its first electric semis to PepsiCo Thursday, more than three years after Elon Musk said his company would start making the trucks. The Austin, Texas, company formally delivered the trucks at a factory near Reno, Nevada. The event was livestreamed on Twitter, which Musk now owns. Musk drove one of […]
20 hours ago
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., updates reporters as Congress moves urgently to head o...
Associated Press

Congress votes to avert rail strike amid dire warnings

WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to avert what could have been an economically ruinous freight rail strike won final approval in Congress on Thursday as lawmakers responded quickly to President Joe Biden’s call for federal intervention in a long-running labor dispute. The Senate passed a bill to bind rail companies and workers to a proposed settlement […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

EPA proposes restrictions to block proposed Alaska mine

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed restrictions that would block plans for a copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region that is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. A statement from the regional EPA office said discharges of dredged or fill material into the waters […]
20 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Ea...
Associated Press

Biden to Dems: Scrap caucuses, promote diversity in primary

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that Democrats should give up “restrictive” caucuses and move to champion diversity in the order of their presidential primary calendar, dealing a major blow to Iowa’s decadeslong status as the first voting state. In a letter to the rule-making arm of the Democratic National Committee, Biden does […]
20 hours ago
***HOLD for Story running Wed. Nov. 30, 2022 *** FILE - A family walks over cracked mud near Lake O...
Associated Press

Drought-hit California cities to get little water from state

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water agencies that serve 27 million people will get just 5% of what they requested from the state to start 2023, water officials announced Thursday. The news of limited water comes as California concludes its driest three-year stretch on record and as water managers brace for a fourth year with […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Judge orders Gingrich to testify in Georgia election probe