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Texas attorney wins fight against subpoena in Trump election interference probe

The decision is a victory for podcast host and attorney Jacki Pick and it could also impact testimony sought from Sidney Powell, another Texan who supported Donald Trump’s failed attempt to overturn Georgia’s election results.

(CN) — One of the out-of-state witnesses summoned by an Atlanta-area district attorney investigating potential criminal interference with Georgia's 2020 presidential election has won a challenge to her subpoena in a Texas appeals court.

Podcast host and Dallas-based attorney Jacki Pick was initially ordered by a Dallas County judge to honor her subpoena in Fulton County, Georgia, which calls her "a necessary and material witness" to the investigation taking place before a special grand jury conveyed in Atlanta since May.

But by filing an appeal, Pick was able to delay testimony and successfully get her subpoena dismissed as moot by Texas' Court of Criminal Appeals, which ruled that the subpoena had expired because her required appearance dates had already elapsed.

Prosecutors instructed Pick to provide her testimony between July 12 and Aug. 31, and the court's dismissal was issued on Sept. 1.

According to her subpoena that was issued in July, Pick personally presented and narrated portions of a video purported to show election workers at Atlanta's State Farm Arena "producing 'suitcases' of unlawful ballots from unknown sources, outside the view of election poll watchers."

The video was shown at a Georgia Senate hearing on Dec. 3, 2020, where Pick along with Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and several other members of the former president's campaign attempted to spread false allegations of a rigged election.

Georgia's Secretary of State Office and federal authorities have since debunked the altered video through investigations that found no evidence of any alleged voter fraud occurring at the arena.

Because the Texas appeals court did not rule on the merits of Pick's challenge, she could receive another Georgia subpoena if prosecutors file a new petition for one.

Five of the nine judges, however, indicated are likely to deny any future petitions for out-of-state subpoenas.

This is because witnesses from Texas should only be compelled to testify in out-of-state proceedings if they are criminal in nature, according to a dissenting opinion written by Judge Kevin Yeary and joined by Judges Sharon Keller, Scott Walker and Michelle Slaughter.

In a concurring opinion, Judge Bert Richardson agreed with the concerns of the dissenting judges and wrote that a special purpose grand jury may not constitute the type envisioned by Texas when it established an agreement with Georgia in 1951 to secure attendance from out-of-state witnesses for investigations.

The dismissal clashes with a ruling issued last week by the Fulton County Superior Judge Robert McBurney, who is overseeing the grand jury and held that the investigation is criminal.

"As described at the outset of this order, its purpose is unquestionably and exclusively to conduct a criminal investigation: its convening was sought by the elected official who investigates, lodges, and prosecutes criminal charges in this Circuit; its convening order specifies its purpose as the investigation of possible criminal activities; and its final output is a report recommending whether criminal charges should be brought," McBurney wrote in his order denying Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's attempt to entirely quash his subpoena to testify, after his attorneys presented a similar argument.

The Texas court's dismissal could impact the Georgia prosecutors' attempt to compel testimony from Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, who is also a resident of Dallas County.

After vowing to "release the kracken" on voter fraud alleged by Trump and his allies, Powell has become a key witness to the investigation as evidence unfolds of her role in the breach of a rural Georgia county's election systems, which is also under investigation by the Secretary of State's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

McBurney granted a petition last month seeking Powell's appearance before the special grand jury on Sept. 12. According to her subpoena, Powell paid Atlanta tech firm SullivanStrickler to extract and copy sensitive election data from voting machines and equipment in Coffee County, Georgia, in January 2021.

Security camera footage released Tuesday shows Cathy Latham, the head of the Coffee County Republican Party and one of the fake electors who tried to reverse the state's election results, escorting the paid computer experts into the county's elections office.

The false claims of election fraud spread by Trump and his allies have been rejected by many courts, state governments that performed audits, multiple members of Trump's own former administration and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, a federal agency that oversees U.S. election security.

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