Lindsey Graham Must Testify In Georgia Election Probe, Judge Says

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal decide on Monday mentioned U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham should testify earlier than a special grand jury in Atlanta that is investigating whether or not then-President Donald Trump and his allies broke any legal guidelines whereas making an attempt to overturn his slim 2020 basic election loss within the state.

Attorneys for Graham (R-S.C.) had argued that his position as a U.S. senator offered him immunity from having to seem earlier than the investigative panel and requested the decide to quash his subpoena. But U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in an order Monday that immunities associated to his position as a senator don’t defend him from having to testify. Graham’s subpoena instructs him to seem earlier than the particular grand jury on Aug. 23, however he’s anticipated to enchantment the decide’s ruling.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation final year, and a particular grand jury with subpoena energy was seated in May at her request. Last month she filed petitions in search of to compel testimony from seven Trump advisers and associates.

Prosecutors have indicated they wish to ask Graham about telephone calls they are saying he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his employees within the weeks following Trump’s election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Graham had argued {that a} provision of the Constitution supplies absolute safety in opposition to a senator being questioned about legislative acts. But the decide discovered there are “considerable areas of potential grand jury inquiry” that fall exterior that provision’s scope. The decide additionally rejected Graham’s argument that the precept of “sovereign immunity” protects a senator from being summoned by a state prosecutor.

Graham additionally argued that Willis, a Democrat, had not demonstrated extraordinary circumstances essential to compel testimony from a high-ranking official. But the decide disagreed, discovering that Willis has proven “extraordinary circumstances and a special need” for Graham’s testimony on points associated to alleged try to affect or disrupt the election in Georgia.

May, the decide, final month rejected an identical try by U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., to keep away from testifying earlier than the particular grand jury. Former New York mayor and Trump legal professional Rudy Giuliani had argued he couldn’t journey to Atlanta to testify due to well being points, however Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who’s overseeing the particular grand jury, instructed him to seem on Wednesday.

A Graham spokesperson, Kevin Bishop, mentioned Monday the senator had no remark however referred to what Graham mentioned when requested concerning the probe final week. During a information convention in Columbia, S.C., Graham mentioned, “We will take this as far as we need to take it” when requested about his efforts to combat his subpoena.

“I was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and had to vote on certifying an election,” Graham informed reporters. “This is ridiculous. This weaponization of the law needs to stop. So I will use the courts. We will go as far as we need to go and do whatever needs to be done to make sure that people like me can do their jobs without fear of some county prosecutor coming after you.”

In calls made shortly after the 2020 basic election, Graham “questioned Secretary Raffensperger and his staff about reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a petition.

Graham additionally “made reference to allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia, consistent with public statements made by known affiliates of the Trump Campaign,” she wrote.

Republican and Democratic state election officers throughout the nation, courts and even Trump’s attorney general discovered there was no proof of any voter fraud enough to have an effect on the end result of his 2020 presidential election loss.

Associated Press author Meg Kinnard in Columbia, S.C., contributed reporting.

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