A judge in Colorado said on Tuesday that Jenna Ellis, an attorney who represented Donald Trump during and after the 2020 election, must appear before the Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury investigating the former President’s election schemes.
In issuing the order, 8th Judicial District Judge Gregory Lammons stressed the limited role he was being asked to play.
This is “one witness in this state testifying in another state,” he said at the end of an hour-long hearing on the matter, which had been initiated by local prosecutors in Colorado on behalf of the Atlanta prosecutors leading the probe.
Fulton County investigators have subpoenaed Ellis for grand jury testimony for August 25. However they have offered a range of dates on which she could appear in order to accommodate her schedule, Dawn Downs, a lawyer in the Larimer County district attorney’s office, said in the hearing.
During the hearing in the Larimer County courthouse in Fort Collins, Will Wooten, a lawyer in the Fulton County district attorney’s office, testified virtually about why Ellis’ testimony was “material” and “necessary” to the special grand jury that has been empaneled in Atlanta to investigate the Trump-aligned efforts to subvert the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Wooten said the investigation had five areas of interest in seeking her testimony: investigators’ belief that she was involved in planning hearings before Georgia lawmakers where Trump allies pushed claims of mass election fraud; legal memos Ellis authored advising that then-Vice President Mike Pence could disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s win; her social media posts promoting election fraud claims; her participation in media interviews where she made those allegations; and any “unique knowledge” she would have about how Trump’s associates were coordinating.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is leading the special grand jury investigation, where among the crimes being probed are solicitation of election fraud, conspiracy and making false statements to state and local government bodies.
Democratic Georgia lawmakers have recounted to CNN testimony they’ve given before the grand jury focused on the hearings that Trump’s team participated in before the legislature. At Tuesday’s hearing in the Ellis subpoena dispute, Wooten said that the grand jury was interested in her testimony as it related to the hearings that were held before a George Senate subcommittee on December 3 and December 30, 2020, as well as a virtual proceeding on December 10 before a Georgia House committee.
Michael Melito, an attorney for Ellis, pushed Wooten on what evidence he had that Ellis played a role in organizing those proceedings. Wooten noted that she was present for at least one of them, though he acknowledged that she did not testify at any of them. Wooten also pointed out that Ellis testified in a similar legislative proceeding in Colorado, where election fraud allegations like those made in Georgia hearings were pushed.
Ellis appeared virtually at the hearing, but she did not testify. She had obtained permission from the court to not attend in person, telling the judge in a court filing that she had travel planned in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC, this week.
Lammons, as he explained why he had concluded that the grand jury testimony did not pose an undue burden on Ellis, noted that her travels on the East Coast put her closer to Georgia than if she had been traveling from Colorado.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.