Pence won’t appeal ruling that compels his grand jury testimony on Jan. 6

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Former vice president Mike Pence will not appeal a judge’s ruling that requires him to testify in front of a grand jury exploring the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, a spokesman said Thursday, likely setting up a pivotal moment in the special counsel investigation related to former president Donald’s Trump efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Pence’s decision to drop the appeal means he will likely testify under oath about Trump’s attempts to pressure him, and he could be a key witness. Trump and his team could still appeal the ruling, but they have lost similar previous cases.

A date for his testimony is not settled, though it is likely to be later this month, an adviser said.

The decision comes as Trump is actively pursuing the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and ahead of an expected bid by Pence to challenge him. Pence’s testimony could add to Trump’s mounting legal exposure as the nominating process unfolds.

Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement that Pence felt vindicated by a portion of the judge’s ruling that he can remain silent on topics that deal specifically with his role in Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, when a formal tabulation of the presidential election results was interrupted by a violent pro-Trump mob,

“The Court’s landmark and historic ruling affirmed for the first time in history that the Speech or Debate Clause extends to the Vice President of the United States,” O’Malley said. “Having vindicated that principle of the Constitution, Vice President Pence will not appeal the Judge’s ruling and will comply with the subpoena as required by law.”

Many of Pence’s advisers, including his chief of staff and chief counsel, have already testified to the investigators probing the attack, and many of his experiences are already known. But Pence can offer a firsthand account of at least some one-on-one conversations with Trump.

Special counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed Pence for his testimony in the long-running investigation into whether efforts to block or undo Joe Biden’s 2020 victory constituted federal crimes, and Pence and Trump fought the demand on separate legal grounds.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled last week that Pence had to provide testimony to prosecutors investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, The Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe court proceedings that have not been made public. However, Boasberg also ruled that Pence can remain silent regarding his role in Congress.

Trump argued that executive privilege, which shields some presidential discussions from being disclosed, barred Pence from appearing; Pence’s lawyers maintained that a constitutional protection against forcing lawmakers to provide evidence also prevented Pence — who presided over the Senate on Jan. 6 from testifying.

Trump is facing mounting legal scrutiny as he attempts to return the White House.

On Tuesday, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in connection with an investigation into 2016 hush money payments to former adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, with whom he is alleged to have had a long-ago affair. That makes him the first former president ever to be indicted in connection with a crime.

The Justice Department is separately investigating the handling of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. The Fulton County, Ga., district attorney is leading a parallel criminal probe related to the 2020 election, and the New York attorney general has sued Trump, three of his children and his family business for a medley of alleged violations.

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