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Graham loses bid to delay testimony in Trump GA grand jury election probe


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a panel titled “Make the Best Economy within the World Work for All Americans” on the America First Policy Institute America First Agenda Summit in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2022. 

Sarah Silbiger | Reuters

A federal judge on Friday denied a request from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to delay his scheduled testimony before a special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, as a part of an investigation of possible interference within the state’s 2020 election by former President Donald Trump and his allies.

The ruling got here 4 days after Judge Leigh Martin May rejected Graham’s bid to thoroughly quash a court-ordered subpoena for his testimony as a witness within the probe. Graham is currently scheduled to testify before the grand jury next Tuesday.

The senator had asked the judge to temporarily halt the enforcement of the subpoena, pending his appeal of Monday’s ruling trying to thoroughly quash the subpoena and get out of testifying. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit received Graham’s appeal on Thursday.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who’s conducting the probe, desires to query Graham about phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff after the November 2020 election. Raffensperger reportedly said at the moment that Graham had questioned him about Georgia’s election laws, including whether the secretary had the ability to toss out certain mail ballots.

Trump, who falsely blames widespread fraud for his loss to President Joe Biden, called Raffensperger days before Congress convened to substantiate the election results and urged him to “find” enough votes to alter the consequence of Georgia’s contest.

Lawyers for Graham, a detailed ally of Trump’s, had argued to May that the calls were “quintessentially legislative factfinding” by a sitting U.S. senator, and as such are protected by the speech and debate clause of the Structure.

May wrote in Monday’s ruling that even when that clause protected Graham from testifying concerning the calls to Raffensperger, he may very well be still questioned about other issues relevant to the probe.

In Friday’s decision, May reiterated that a few of Graham’s arguments “are entirely unpersuasive.”

“Senator Graham’s arguments ignore the concept that a couple of subject could have been discussed on the calls,” she wrote, and “the Court finds no basis for concluding that its holdings as to those issues are prone to be reversed on the merits.”

May additionally rejected the argument that those other potential areas of inquiry will simply be used as a “backdoor” option to query him concerning the phone calls.

“The issue for Senator Graham is that the record thoroughly contradicts” that suggestion, May wrote. “Senator Graham’s insistent repetition of this argument doesn’t make it true.”

The judge also agreed with Willis’ argument that delaying Graham’s testimony will harm the grand jury investigation, in addition to the general public interest.

“The general public interest is well-served when a lawful investigation geared toward uncovering the facts and circumstances of alleged attempts to disrupt or influence Georgia’s elections is allowed to proceed without unnecessary encumbrances,” May wrote.

“Indeed, it is vital that residents maintain faith that there are mechanisms in place for investigating any such attempts to disrupt elections and, if essential, to prosecute these crimes which, by their very nature, strike at the guts of a democratic system,” she wrote.

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