Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is sometimes seen as one of the few Republicans with integrity after he refused to accede to Donald Trump’s entreaties to fix the presidential election in that state for him.
Proving that his integrity only goes so far, Kemp has subsequently signed legislation that many Democrats consider to be among the worst voter restriction attempts in the nation and has also filed suit to avoid having to testify truthfully under oath about his conversations with the former president before the Fulton County special grand jury investigating Trump’s attempts to “find” enough votes to claim Georgia’s electoral college win.
With an election coming up — and Kemp now a persona non grata among many Trump supporters in Georgia because of his refusal to support the ex-president’s election lies — the incumbent Georgia governor wants nothing to do with a situation that could potentially result in pissing off even more of the GOP base he needs to fend off the challenge for the governor’s job from Democrat Stacey Abrams.
A Fulton County judge just shattered any hopes that Kemp may have had of avoiding testifying to the grand jury altogether while throwing him a bone that may at least reduce his anxiety about how his testimony may affect his own electoral prospects.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled earlier today that Governor Kemp must indeed appear before District Attorney Fani Willis’ grand jury, but that he could postpone his testimony until after the November gubernatorial election.
According to Georgia Recorder:
“McBurney rejected arguments that the governor should not be forced to testify because of sovereign immunity, which protects the state from being sued without its consent, and dismissed claims that the Fulton court had no power to enforce the subpoena.”
Kemp’s attorneys tried to argue that District Attorney Willis was targeting the governor as an act of political harassment, but Judge McBurney wasn’t buying that reasoning.
“But prosecutors noted that under state law, a special grand jury can investigate any type of violation and Kemp is only considered a potential victim who was targeted by Trump’s allies in their attempts to overturn Trump’s 2020 presidential loss to Democrat Joe Biden,” Georgia Recorder reported.
“McBurney concluded the investigation is a criminal investigation, pointing out that the special grand jury is determining whether to prosecute people for disrupting the 2020 election and that there are several conversations Kemp had that are relevant to the investigation.”
While acknowledging that Kemp had no legal leg to stand on to avoid testimony, Judge McBurney bowed to political reality and allowed Kemp, who is in the midst of campaigning for re-election, to postpone his appearance before the grand jury until after the election when he could potentially be a lame-duck governor with not much left to lose over any testimony that implicates Donald Trump.
For District Attorney Fani Willis, it was a victory that came on the same day that she filed a response to a motion from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who is also doing everything he can to avoid being forced to testify about his interactions with Georgia politicians while Trump was pressuring them to find votes.
Let’s hope that Willis can get sworn testimony from both Governor Kemp and Senator Graham, and, under the likely assumption that the evidence would support it, goes on to indict Trump for his crimes in attempting to illegally influence the outcome of the 2020 Georgia presidential election.
Original reporting by Stanley Dunlap at Georgia Recorder.