In its six-page injunction, the judge rejected Kemp’s request to dismiss the subpoena, while acknowledging the potential impact of the investigation on the upcoming November 8 election.
The Georgian criminal investigation into Trump and his allies, explained:
“The governor must honor the subpoena — as must the Secretary of State and the Attorney General and many other state agents in these criminal proceedings,” McBurney wrote.
Still, he added that the investigation should not be used by anyone – including Kemp himself – to influence the outcome of the election.
“The healthy and prudent course is to allow the election to proceed without further lawsuits or other activities related to the governor’s involvement,” McBurney wrote.
The judge concluded: “Once the election is over, the court expects the governor’s legal team to act quickly before his appearance.”
The decision is considered a partial victory for Kemp, whose lawyers had at least tried to delay testimony until after the election. McBurney had previously expressed skepticism about Republican arguments that the prosecution, led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D), was politically motivated.
“It’s not my space” to focus on politics, McBurney said last week as Kemp’s lawyers argued that the subpoena had already become a political issue this election season. “I don’t think this is the right forum” to discuss the political ramifications of the case, the judge said.
In his warrant, McBurney rejected Kemp’s claim that his position as governor protects him from having to testify in what Kemp’s lawyers described as a civil suit. McBurney stressed that the special grand jury is undoubtedly investigating possible criminal activity and that its final report will recommend whether the prosecutor must file criminal charges.
The legal maneuvering is the latest sign of tension between prosecutors and high-profile witnesses in the Fulton County District Attorney’s extensive criminal investigation into alleged election meddling by Trump and his allies.
Last week, a federal appeals court temporarily suspended an injunction that ordered Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) had to testify before the Georgia Grand Jury. Graham had formally appealed last week against a judge’s order requiring him to testify.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has temporarily put his appearance on hold and asked a lower court to consider whether Graham should be protected from answering some questions about his official duties as a U.S. Senator. A federal judge this week set accelerated deadlines to resolve the questions.
After repeatedly requesting a reprieve, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former attorney, testified before the grand jury for six hours earlier this month. The panel 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.
Tom Hamburger and Matthew Brown contributed to this report.