US District Judge Leigh Martin May, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, told attorneys at a hearing that she will remand the case back to the Superior Court of Fulton County for Hice to raise any objections to specific questions posed by the special purpose grand jury.
Hice received a subpoena last month to appear as a witness in front of the grand jury. The bare-bones subpoena is one page long and does not indicate how Hice relates to the investigation or why Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wants the Georgia congressman to testify.
Hice is one of Trump’s political allies in Georgia and has repeatedly spread misinformation about the 2020 election, saying Trump would have won if it was “fair.” Hice mounted an unsuccessful Trump-backed primary challenge against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who fended off Trump’s efforts to interfere with the results of the 2020 election.
Hice had tried to fight the subpoena in federal court instead of bringing the case in front of the Fulton County Superior Court judge who is overseeing the grand jury.
The congressman’s legal team argued that the subpoena violates the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which shields lawmakers from certain law enforcement actions related to their legislative duties. Hice also claimed that the subpoena ran afoul of the “high-ranking official” doctrine, which sets certain legal standards for when a high-ranking official can be compelled to give testimony.
The judge said that by denying Hice’s motion to quash the subpoena on Monday, she is “remanding this back to superior court for further proceedings,” for attorneys to “confer” about “specific questions.”
Hice was scheduled to appear as a witness in front of the grand jury earlier this month.
Jones is currently running for lieutenant governor in Georgia against Democrat Charlie Bailey. Willis hosted a campaign fundraiser for Bailey last month and donated to his primary campaign earlier this year.
Willis’ office, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said, may “ask witnesses about the Senator’s role in the various efforts the State Republican party undertook to call into question the legitimacy of the results of the election. What her office may not do is make sure of any such evidence to develop a case against the Senator.”
CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.