Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will not have to appear in court Thursday after he asked a judge to throw out a subpoena from Atlanta prosecutors investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election and accused prosecutors of of political motivations.
Why it matters: While Kemp famously resisted former President Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, his lawyers on Wednesday accused the district attorney’s office of using the investigation “as a sword to influence the 2022 election.”
However, it has not yet been decided whether Kemp will have to testify.
Driving the news: A spokesman for the governor’s office told Axios on Wednesday that Kemp “has been released from his obligation to appear pending Judge McBurney’s decision on the motion to quash.”
A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office told Axios that the office plans to fight the request to quash the subpoena and will file a response.
What is happening: Kemp’s attorneys explained in their filing that the district attorney’s office late last month canceled an original plan to present voluntary videotaped witnesses, after more than a year of correspondence. Instead, Kemp was subpoenaed to testify in person on Thursday, the filing revealed.
Kemp’s attorney wrote that after seeking “certain protections” about the original video testimony, the district attorney’s office canceled the voluntary interview. Kemp’s attorneys said the district attorney denied their request to delay testimony until after the election, which is why they want to quash the subpoena entirely.
The big picture: The filing is the latest example of how the wide-ranging investigation into efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results has become politicized.
A judge has already blocked District Attorney Fani Willis from directly investigating one of the named targets because he had raised funds for his political opponent.
What they are saying: Kemp’s lawyers wrote of the investigation: “Unfortunately, what began as an election interference investigation has turned into its own election interference mechanism.”
The attorneys wrote that the actions of the district attorney’s office amount to “at best, a disregard for an unnecessary risk to the political process and, at worst, an attempt to influence the election cycle of November 2022.
The other side: In an email to Kemp’s attorney released in the file, Willis wrote, “This is NOT a politically motivated investigation. This is a criminal investigation, and often at the end of criminal investigations, people are fired and often they go to jail.”
Of note: Kemp’s office has produced 137,000 pages of documents to the district attorney’s office after the subpoena, his attorneys said.