A federal judge has ruled that a number of former officials from President Donald J. Trump’s administration — including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows — cannot invoke executive privilege to avoid testifying to a grand jury investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The recent ruling by Judge Beryl A. Howell paves the way for the former White House officials to answer questions from federal prosecutors, according to two people briefed on the matter.
Judge Howell ruled on the matter in a closed-door proceeding in her role as chief judge of the Federal District Court in Washington, a job in which she oversaw the grand juries taking testimony in the Justice Department’s investigations into Mr. Trump. Judge Howell’s term as chief judge ended last week.
The existence of the sealed ruling was first reported by ABC News.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers had tried to rebuff the grand jury subpoenas issued to more than a half-dozen former administration officials in connection with the former president’s efforts to remain in office after his defeat at the polls. The lawyers argued that Mr. Trump’s interactions with the officials would be covered by executive privilege.
Prosecutors are likely to be especially eager to hear from Mr. Meadows, who refused to be interviewed by the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Mr. Meadows was a central player in various efforts to help Mr. Trump reverse the election outcome in a number of contested states.