A Federal Judge Has Ruled That Trump Ally Lindsey Graham Must Testify in a Grand Jury Investigation in Georgia

The Republican senator, who was a strong supporter of Trump and wanted to avoid going before the Fulton County grand jury, was hurt by the judge’s decision.
On Thursday, a federal judge did not throw out a grand jury subpoena for Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to testify in a Georgia investigation into how former President Donald Trump and his allies might have messed with the 2020 election.

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May said she would stop questions about parts of Graham’s phone calls to Georgia election officials that helped Congress certify the 2020 election.

The judge said that Senator Graham could be asked about any alleged attempts to get Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger or others to throw out ballots or change other parts of Georgia’s election practices and procedures. “In the same way, the grand jury may look into Senator Graham’s alleged communications and coordination with the Trump campaign and its efforts in Georgia after the election, as well as Senator Graham’s public statements about the 2020 elections in Georgia.”

Trump Ally Lindsey Graham
Trump Ally Lindsey Graham

The judge’s decision was a blow to the Trump supporter who had tried to avoid going before the grand jury and prosecutors in Fulton County. They are leading a wide-ranging investigation into election interference.

Graham’s office hinted that the senator would appeal the order by saying that the judge “recognized” that at least some of the lawmaker’s testimony is protected by legislative privilege, also known as the speech and debate provision of the Constitution.

John Eastman won’t answer questions. Trump lawyer John Eastman won’t answer the Georgia grand jury’s questions.

Last week, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the lawmaker’s grand jury appearance and asked May to think about whether Graham should be kept from answering certain questions that may be protected by legislative privilege. This was a prelude to Thursday’s decision.

At issue is Graham’s role in trying to convince election officials in Georgia about the 2020 election.

Court documents filed in support of the subpoena request say that in the weeks after the election, Graham called Raffensperger and his staff twice to ask for more review of the absentee ballots.

Graham has said that he contacted Georgia officials because, as a lawmaker, he had the right to do so under the Constitution’s speech and debate clause. He has denied that he put pressure on officials to throw out ballots. Instead, he says he was just trying to find out how different states look at ballots.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is in charge of the Georgia investigation, has told Graham’s claims over and over again that they are not true.

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“The Senator has not named any protected or privileged information that is “required” by his subpoena. Instead, he has insisted, not for the first time, that he cannot be questioned in any way, much less in a “partial” way,” Willis said in court documents this week. “The Senator’s extreme position goes against the facts, what this Court has said, what the Supreme Court has said, and what the public wants.”

Georgia was the center of the lies that former President Donald Trump made about the election. Trump had called Raffensperger and told him to find more votes for him to beat Joe Biden in the state, where he had lost to Biden.

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