Judge Forces Lindsey Graham To Testify Under Oath In Criminal Probe

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This Thursday, federal Judge Leigh Martin May once again denied an effort by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) at getting a subpoena for his testimony quashed (essentially meaning overturned).

May considered the question at this stage in the dispute after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals directed further examination of potential resolutions for challenges from Graham to the push from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for his testimony. Willis is conducting a criminal investigation into pro-Trump election meddling after the 2020 presidential race in Georgia, where Biden won. In the aftermath of the election, Graham got in touch with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official, to whom Graham evidently raised the prospect of throwing out entire counties’ troves of mail-in ballots. Graham invoked protections found in the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which shields legislative officials from certain forms of investigative scrutiny related to official actions they take. The problem was the lack of certainty that Graham getting in touch with Raffensperger legitimately related to official legislative business.

May concluded there’s plenty of potential ground for questioning that isn’t protected by the Speech or Debate Clause, although she outlined certain, limited restrictions. Along with a more general block on asking the Trump-allied Senator about “investigatory fact-finding” on the disputed calls, the judge stated Graham can’t face questions about his decision-making process related to how he’d vote when the task of certifying the outcome of the 2020 presidential race came before Congress, as the decision-making process showed up in this context.

“As to the other categories, the Court finds that they are not legislative, and the Speech or Debate Clause does not apply to them,” the judge added. “As such, Senator Graham may be questioned about any alleged efforts to encourage Secretary Raffensperger or others to throw out ballots or otherwise alter Georgia’s election practices and procedures. Likewise, the grand jury may inquire into Senator Graham’s alleged communications and coordination with the Trump Campaign and its post-election efforts in Georgia, as well as into Senator Graham’s public statements related to Georgia’s 2020 elections.” That’s a lot of ground left for questions for Graham. The dispute is now set for consideration — again — at the appeals court level. Willis previously established that she anticipates the possibility of Graham’s answers — assuming he eventually provides some — alerting investigators to further lines of relevant inquiry. John Eastman, the infamous, Trump-allied lawyer, was recently questioned in Willis’s probe, but he invoked the Fifth Amendment and attorney-client privilege.