Updated Jul 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge denies Jody Hice request to avoid subpoena in Trump 2020 probe

Jody Hice at a podium

Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus in Washington in July 2021. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

An Atlanta federal judge denied Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.)'s effort to avoid giving subpoenaed testimony before the Fulton County district attorney's special purpose grand jury focused on the 2020 election.

Driving the news: Judge Leigh Martin May said during a Monday hearing that she would not quash Hice's subpoena. But she asked lawyers to agree to a process for him to refuse to answer specific questions based on legislative privilege protections.

  • If disagreements arise, May said she would rule on them in a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The news could have implications for other federal officials seeking to avoid testifying before the panel focused on efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The big picture: Hice has been among the most vocal officials to spread false claims of voter fraud and was at a December 2020 White House meeting focused on efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject certification of the election results.

Between the lines: May's decision puts Hice's case back in the court of the superior court judge who has ruled others must testify, including members of Republican slate of electors who attempted "certify" a false Trump victory in Georgia in 2020.

  • However, the judge ruled state lawmakers are entitled to some degree of legislative immunity regarding questions about legislative actions.

Details: Hice's lawyers made the argument that he is entitled to some degree of protection in part because of the constitution's "speech and debate" clause which protects members of Congress from being questioned about legislative debate.

What she's saying: In Monday's hearing May said "in a perfect world, y'all will never see me again."

  • "But in a realistic world, there may be issues y'all cannot solve," in which case, she said she'd be willing to "weigh into this as much as I need to."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the judge's decision.

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