Gingrich is willing to testify to Jan. 6 panels, his lawyer says

ATLANTA — Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker involved in efforts to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, is willing to give an interview to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol after certain conditions are met, his lawyer said Thursday.

Gingrich, a staunch ally of Trump, was asked to appear before the committee in a Sept. 1 letter from Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who serves as the panel’s chair. The letter noted that the committee’s investigators had obtained evidence that Gingrich had been in touch with senior advisers to Trump about advertisements that amplified false claims about election fraud in the November 2020 election.

According to Thompson, Gingrich urged the Trump campaign to run ads focused on the bogus assertion that suitcases of fake ballots had been smuggled into a vote processing area by election workers in Atlanta.

Gingrich, 79, a former member of Congress from Georgia, rose to power and fame in the early 1990s promoting a so-called Contract with America, a statement of conservative governing principles. Gingrich has also been ordered to give testimony Nov. 16 before a special grand jury in Atlanta that is conducting a criminal investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to reverse Trump’s loss in the Southern state.

A court hearing in Fairfax County, Virginia, where Gingrich lives, on whether he must testify in Georgia is scheduled for Wednesday.

However, in an interview on Thursday, Gingrich’s lawyer, J. Randolph Evans, said that he hoped a Virginia judge would be convinced that Gingrich’s testimony before members of Congress would render his client’s appearance in Atlanta unnecessary.

“The idea being that if this really is about information, presumably the Jan. 6 committee would do a good job and obviate the need for testimony in Georgia,” Evans said.

Evans described the outstanding conditions to be agreed upon as “transparency and attorney-driven issues” but did not elaborate further.

Evans said that John A. Burlingame, the lawyer representing Gingrich in the Virginia hearing, would also likely argue that he does not have to testify in Georgia and follow a legal strategy used, with varying success, by other out-of-state Trump allies who have fought orders to testify in Georgia. The strategy rests on the idea that the special grand jury is civil in nature, not criminal, and therefore lacks the power to compel appearances by people who are not residents of Georgia.

A spokesperson for Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney who is leading the investigation, declined to comment Thursday. Evans said that his client had broken no laws and was not a target of the investigation but rather “just a potential witness.”

In a court document seeking Gingrich’s testimony, Willis referenced the advertisements mentioned by Thompson in his letter, noting that they had “encouraged members of the public to contact their state officials and pressure them to challenge and overturn the results of the election.”

The ads ran, Willis stated, “in the days leading up to Dec. 14, 2020, when both legitimate and, in several states, nonlegitimate electors met to cast Electoral College votes, and they were purportedly personally approved by former President Donald Trump.”

Thompson, in his letter, said that Gingrich was involved in the plan to put forward pro-Trump electors in states that were won by Joe Biden.

Evans, Gingrich’s lawyer, was named ambassador to Luxembourg by Trump and is also mentioned by name in the court documents filed by Willis.

The prosecutor noted that on or around Nov. 12, 2020, Gingrich wrote an email to Pat Cipollone, then the White House counsel, and to Mark Meadows, then Trump’s chief of staff, who has also been ordered to testify in the Atlanta investigation.

“Is someone in charge of coordinating all the electors?” Gingrich wrote, according to Willis. She added that Gingrich then wrote that Evans had made the point “that all the contested electors must meet on Dec. 14 and send in ballots to force contests which the House would have to settle.”

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