Court upholds Sen. Lindsey Graham’s testimony in Georgia election investigation

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol on August 5, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Kevin Dietsch | beautiful pictures

A federal appeals court on Sunday agreed to temporarily uphold a lower court order requiring US Senator Lindsey Graham to testify before a special grand jury investigating possible illegal attempts overturned President Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat in Georgia.

A subpoena instructs South Carolina Republicans to appear before a special grand jury on Tuesday.

US District Judge Leigh Martin May last Monday denied Graham’s request to have his subpoena set aside and on Friday dismissed his attempt to uphold her decision. while he appealed. Graham’s attorneys subsequently appealed to the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Sunday, a panel of three judges of the court of appeals issued an order temporarily halting May’s refusal to rescind the subpoena. The panel sent the file back in May to decide whether the subpoena should be partially rescinded or modified because of the protections granted by the US Constitution to members of Congress. .

After May decides on that matter, the case will be returned to 11th Street for further consideration, according to an appeals court order.

Representatives for Graham did not immediately respond Sunday to messages seeking comment on the appellate ruling. A spokesperson for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis declined to comment.

Willis opened the investigation early last year, prompted by a January 2, 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that conversation, Trump suggested that Raffensperger might “find” the votes needed to overturn his tight losing streak in the state.

Willis and her team said they wanted to ask Graham about two phone calls they said he made to Raffensperger and his staff shortly after the 2020 general election. asked about “revisiting some of the absentee ballots cast in Georgia to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a petition seeking to coerce his testimony.

Graham also “referred to allegations of voter fraud prevalent in the November 2020 election in Georgia, consistent with public statements by known affiliates of the Trump Campaign,” she wrote.

Republican and Democratic election officials around the country, the courts and even Trump’s attorney general have found no evidence of voter fraud enough to influence the outcome of the election. vote.

During a hearing earlier this month about Graham’s motion to rescind his subpoena, Willis’ team said Graham could provide details on the extent of any concerted efforts to influence affect the outcome of the 2020 general election in Georgia.

The debate or speech clause of the United States Constitution protects members of Congress from questioning about official legislative acts. As a result, the Circuit 11 court instructed May to determine whether Graham “was entitled to a substantial portion or modification of the subpoena”.

Graham’s lawyers have argued that the calls were made as part of his legislative duties, and that provision gives him absolute protection from having to testify in this case.

In his order last week, May noted that the provision does not protect actions that are political rather than legislative. Even if she accepts that the calls are “entirely covering legislative fact-finding,” and therefore protected, “there will still be substantial areas of potential testimony regarding the call.” grand jury investigation that Senator Graham could be questioned would not be within that scope. Section’s safeguards,” she wrote.

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