A lawyer for Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) on Monday filed a motion to quash the subpoena issued by the Fulton County special grand jury seeking his testimony in its investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to subvert the 2020 election results in Georgia.
In the motion filed in Fulton County Superior Court, Hice’s lawyer, Loree Anne Paradise, argued that the GOP congressman shouldn’t be forced to testify, citing the Constitution’s “Speech or Debate” clause that Paradise claims shields members of Congress from being questioned in court on issues related to their legislative activities.
“Simply put, Congressman Hice had a right and a duty to inform himself and colleagues about any allegations relating to the election so that he could properly vote on whether to certify the election in his capacity as a member of Congress,” Paradise wrote.
Paradise’s memo also notes that Hice was unsure what topics prosecutors and the grand jury would like to discuss with him, but reiterated her argument that the congressman was “acting squarely within his Congressional jurisdiction” in his response to the 2020 presidential election results.
Additionally, Paradise argued that the Fulton County district attorney’s office should only request Hice’s testimony if information “may not be obtained from other sources” because he is a member of Congress with special legal protections.
“The District Attorney bears the burden of demonstrating that Congressman Hice not only has first-hand knowledge of the information sought, but also that the information may not be obtained from other sources, such as other individuals who may have been in discussions or meetings that are of interest to the District Attorney, who are not high-ranking officials,” Paradise wrote. “It is unlikely that (Fulton County DA Fani Willis) will be able to show such extraordinary circumstances.”
The motion by Hice’s lawyer comes after a court filing dated Monday revealed that Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis subpoenaed the GOP congressman last month to appear before the special grand jury on Tuesday morning. The request, filed on Monday morning, showed that Hice wants to move the proceedings from state court to federal court because he is a member of Congress.
The grand jury’s investigation, led by Willis, zeroes in on Trump’s push to get state officials to toss the election results in Georgia. The probe specifically focuses on Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in which he urged the Georgia official to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
Hice was among a group of Trump allies who objected to certifying the election results hours after the deadly Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. Additionally, witnesses testified recently before the Jan. 6 Select Committee that Hice participated in a Dec. 21, 2020 at the White House with other members of the House Freedom Caucus alongside then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other GOP lawmakers. The meeting allegedly involved discussions about a plan to appoint a fake slate of pro-Trump electors who would falsely claim to be electors from the state, despite Biden’s victory in Georgia. The fake electors plot has become a topic of interest to the committee, as well as the Justice Department.
Earlier this year, Hice launched a bid for Georgia secretary of state and was endorsed by Trump, but lost to incumbent Raffensperger, who refused to do Trump’s bidding and has experienced backlash for upholding the election results, including violent threats.
Hice’s subpoena follows the grand jury’s subpoena to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and several members of Trump’s legal team who helped out with various schemes to keep the former president in office. Giuliani, along with John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis and Cleta Mitchell, were subpoenaed as well.