Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been called to testify in a Georgia district attorney’s escalating criminal probe into former President Donald Trump and his associates.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed petitions on Thursday seeking to have Meadows — as well as lawyer Sidney Powell, James "Phil" Waldron, who met with Meadows, and former Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn — testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta next month.
Because they don’t live in Georgia, Willis has to use a process that involves getting judges in the states where they live to order them to appear.
The district attorney, looking to see whether Trump or his allies broke state law in pushing to have the 2020 election results overturned in Georgia, has been ramping up the now 18-month probe ahead of the November midterm elections anticipating a potential announcement by Trump that he would run for a second term in 2024.
The petitions she filed Thursday are essentially precursors to subpoenas. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who's overseeing the special grand jury, signed off on the petitions, certifying that each person whose testimony is sought is a "necessary and material" witness for the investigation.
Willis wrote that each of them has unique knowledge about their communications with Trump, his campaign and others "involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere."
Last month, the district attorney filed similar petitions for seven other Trump associates and attorneys, including former New York City Mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Giuliani, who's been told he's a target of the investigation, testified before the special grand jury last week. Graham is fighting his subpoena in court.
Also on Thursday, lawyers for Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appeared in court to argue that he shouldn't have to testify before the special grand jury.
In the petition seeking Meadows’ testimony, Willis wrote that Meadows attended a Dec. 21, 2020, meeting at the White House with Trump and others "to discuss allegations of voter fraud and certification of electoral college votes from Georgia and other states." The next day, Willis wrote, Meadows made a "surprise visit" to Cobb County where an audit of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes was being conducted. He asked to observe the audit but wasn’t allowed to because it wasn’t open to the public, the petition says.
Between Jan. 30, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2021, Meadows sent emails to Justice Department officials making allegations of voter fraud in Georgia and elsewhere and requesting investigations, Willis wrote.
He was also on a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which Trump suggested the state’s top elections official could "find" enough votes to overturn his narrow election loss in the state.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and described the call as "perfect."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.