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Kemp testifies before Ga. grand jury in 2020 election probe

Testimony sought from governor about his contacts with Trump and his allies as they challenged the results of the 2020 election

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) addresses his supporters at a watch party Nov. 8 in Atlanta after winning reelection. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)
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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appeared for about three hours Tuesday before the Fulton County grand jury investigating whether former president Donald Trump and his allies interfered in the 2020 election in Georgia.

Kemp’s testimony had been sought for over a year by the Fulton County district attorney’s office, which has viewed him as central to the ongoing inquiry and which appears to be nearing a conclusion. The governor, who won reelection last week, had sought to kill or delay a subpoena seeking his testimony, but his post-election appearance was ordered in August by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney.

Advisers to Kemp did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his grand jury testimony, which is considered secret.

After the 2020 election, Trump and his allies tried to pressure Kemp and other Republican officials in Georgia to overturn Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state. Kemp came under attack from Trump and his supporters for refusing to convene a special session of the state legislature to reconsider the results.

Kemp said at the time that he had no authority to interfere in elections. Trump repeatedly ridiculed the governor in speeches and media appearances in late 2020, saying he regretted endorsing Kemp’s bid for governor in 2018. Trump also pushed former senator David Perdue (R) to challenge Kemp for the GOP gubernatorial nomination; Kemp trounced Perdue.

Prosecutors have said Kemp is a witness, not a target of the special grand jury inquiry, which has investigative authority but cannot issue indictments. District Attorney Fani Willis has said she expects the grand jury to issue a report on its findings before the end of the year. Willis said she will then decide whether to bring criminal charges.

Kemp is the latest in a string of reluctant witnesses to appear at the Fulton County courthouse. After seeking repeated delays, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former lawyer, testified for six hours before the grand jury in August.

Other Trump lawyers, including Boris Epshteyn and John Eastman, have also appeared. The panel has also heard testimony from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and his staff, Georgia Attorney General Christopher M. Carr (R), state lawmakers, and local election workers.

Willis has been pressing in recent weeks to secure testimony from additional top-tier Trump advisers, including Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. CNN reported Tuesday that Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Meadows, is expected to provide testimony Wednesday. The district attorney has asked former House speaker Newt Gingrich to appear Nov. 29.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) is set to appear before the grand jury on Tuesday, Nov. 22, according to a person familiar with the timing who requested anonymity to discuss the innerworkings of the grand jury proceedings. Graham had sought to kill a subpoena seeking his testimony, but the Supreme Court early this month rejected the senator’s request.

Supreme Court clears way for Sen. Graham to testify in Ga. election probe

Graham had argued that his actions — calling Georgia election officials after the 2020 vote — were made in the course of conducting his official legislative duties and were thus protected by the U.S. Constitution. The court ruled that Graham could not be asked about matters pertaining to his legislative duties but that other topics could be considered fair game.

Willis launched the probe days after taking office in early 2021, following news reports that Trump and his allies placed calls to Georgia officials seeking to overturn election results. It has dramatically expanded since and now includes alleged threats against election workers, the effort to send would-be Trump electoral votes to Washington and allegations that unauthorized individuals had access to election systems in Coffee County, Ga.

Ann E. Marimow contributed to this report.