By Sara Murray and Jason Morris, CNN
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her team have lost a legal challenge to force a Texas podcaster who played a role in the Trump campaign’s legal efforts to testify before a special grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.
Jacki Pick Deason will not have to testify about efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to subvert the election results, a panel of judges ruled earlier this month.
Deason — who lives in Dallas and was subpoenaed to appear by August 31 — is “under no obligation” to appear before the special grand jury, according to rulings earlier this month by the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas that noted the deadline for her subpoena had passed.
“Because it has expired, the underlying legal arguments are now moot,” Judge Bert Richardson wrote in his concurring opinion.
It’s unclear how the appeals court’s ruling could impact other potential witnesses in the Georgia investigation.
Trump-connected lawyer Sidney Powell, who was also recently ordered to testify as part of the Fulton County district attorney’s investigation, is also a resident of Texas.
Willis’s team subpoenaed Deason in July, saying she “possesses unique knowledge concerning communications between herself, the Trump campaign, and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” according to the court filings from Fulton County prosecutors.
Deason presented heavily edited video before Georgia lawmakers in a December 2020 hearing that purportedly showed election workers producing “suitcases” of illegal ballots, according to court filings. That allegation was investigated by state election officials and quickly proven to be false.
A Dallas County judge ruled earlier this year that Deason needed to testify before the special purpose grand jury in Fulton County. Her lawyers then elevated their challenge to the Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas’ highest court for criminal cases. Nine Judges serve on the court, who are each elected to serve in six-year terms.
In their concurring opinion, a majority of the court’s judges ruled that Deason, Trump’s former 2020 attorney, does not need testify. In their rulings, they wrote that because Deason was ordered to testify as a witness by August 31st, that the order “has now expired.”
“In the future, if the State of Georgia seeks to compel this witness’s testimony under another subpoena, the application of those rules could be revisited, but that is for another day and time,” Richardson wrote.
In another written ruling from the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, Judge Kevin Yeary and his three colleagues concluded that because the Fulton County special grand jury “lacks the authority to indict,” it is technically not “criminal in nature” and Deason should not be forced to testify.
A spokesperson for Willis declined to comment.
The court filing seeking Powell’s testimony said she has “unique knowledge” of communications between herself, Trump, the Trump campaign and others about efforts to influence the 2020 election results, including her role in a voting system breach in Coffee County, Georgia.
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