How Mark Meadows can dodge the Tuesday deadline to appear in Fulton County grand jury: legal analyst explains
Mark Meadows speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Third-year Harvard Law School student Anna Bower, who also writes for Lawfare, explained that there's a chance Donald Trump's chief of staff could be a no-show for the Fulton County grand jury tomorrow.

As former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner explained in his "Justice Matters" video Monday, Meadows is being called in as part of the ongoing investigation of whether Trump committed fraud in his attempt to overthrow the Georgia election in 2020. Meadows not only organized a call between Trump and Republican officials who had been dodging him, Meadows also traveled down to Georgia demanding to watch the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and election officials conduct the signature match.

The Meadows subpoena set a deadline for Tuesday for him to appear and it is expected he will comply with the grand jury, unlike his cooperation with the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress. Still, Bower noted Meadows could be a no-show. When the Justice Department called him, however, it was another story.

"Meadows is an out-of-state witness; he claims to reside in South Carolina," Bower explained. "While jurisdiction to subpoena a witness typically ends at a state’s borders, both Georgia and South Carolina have adopted the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses From Without a State in Criminal Proceedings."

"Meadows can be compelled to testify in Georgia if a South Carolina judge issues an order directing him to do so," she continued. "But securing that summons is a multi-step process. First, a GA judge must certify that Meadows is a material witness."

She posted the certification issued in Georgia by Judge McBurney last month, saying:

"Based on the representations made by the State in the attached 'Petition for Certification of Need for Testimony Before Special Purpose Grand Jury' the Court finds that Mark Randall Meadows, born July 28, 1959, (hereinafter, 'The Witness') is a necessary and material witness to the Special Purpose Grand Jury investigation. The Court further finds that the Witness currently resides in Sunset, Pickens County, South Carolina."

"Then prosecutors must present the certification to a South Carolina judge and request that the judge issue an order for Meadows to appear in Georgia," Bower explained. Interestingly, a Sept. 9 filing in Pickens County did exactly that when Fulton County prosecutors began working with the local solicitor.

If Meadows decides to fight the subpoena by not showing up, it would mean the South Carolina judge would hold a hearing to decide if Meadows is necessary to the investigation and that his trip to Georiga won't result in a "hardship." You might recall Rudy Giuliani attempted to claim a hardship, saying that due to medical reasons he couldn't fly. Lawyers offered to pay for a bus ticket to Georgia.

The court never scheduled a hearing or issued an order on the Pickens County information, Bower said. So, she called the clerk's office to ask.

"The person I spoke to told me that they're still waiting to hear from the judge," she said. "So, if Mark Meadows doesn't show up in GA tomorrow...it might be because he's not yet required to do so by law. Of course, it's also possible that Meadows agreed to waive the material witness hearing and/or stipulated to a voluntary appearance in Georgia. That would vitiate the need for a summons from a South Carolina judge."

See her full thread here.