AP

Court puts on hold Graham’s testimony in Ga. election probe

Aug 21, 2022, 8:12 AM | Updated: Aug 22, 2022, 10:44 am

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal appeals court on Sunday agreed to temporarily put on hold a lower court’s order requiring that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham testify before a special grand jury that’s investigating possible illegal efforts to overturn then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.

A subpoena had instructed the South Carolina Republican to appear before the special grand jury on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May last Monday denied Graham’s request to quash his subpoena and on Friday rejected his effort to put her decision on hold while he appealed. Graham’s lawyers then appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Sunday, a three-judge panel of the appeals court issued the order temporarily pausing May’s order declining to quash the subpoena. The panel sent the case back to May to decide whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified because of protections granted to members of Congress by the U.S. Constitution.

Once May decides that issue, the case will return to the 11th Circuit for further consideration, according to the appeals court order.

Graham’s representatives 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 Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that conversation, Trump suggested Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss in the state.

Willis and her team have said they want to ask Graham about two phone calls they say he made to Raffensperger and his staff shortly after the 2020 general election. During those calls, Graham asked 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 seeking to compel his testimony.

Graham also “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 officials across the country, courts and even Trump’s attorney general found there was no evidence of voter fraud sufficient to affect the outcome of the election.

During a hearing earlier this month on Graham’s motion to quash his subpoena, Willis’ team said Graham may be able to provide insight into the extent of any coordinated efforts to influence the results of the 2020 general election in Georgia.

The U.S. Constitution’s speech or debate clause protects members of Congress from questioning about official legislative acts. The 11th Circuit court instructed May to determine whether Graham “is entitled to a partial quashal or modification of the subpoena” as a result.

Graham’s attorneys 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 her order last week, May noted that the clause doesn’t protect actions that are political rather than legislative. Even if she accepted that the calls were “comprised entirely of legislative factfinding,” and thus protected, “there would still be significant areas of potential testimony related to the grand jury’s investigation on which Senator Graham could be questioned that would in no way fall within the Clause’s protections,” she wrote.

___

Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

11 hours ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

1 day ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

1 day ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

3 days ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

4 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Court puts on hold Graham’s testimony in Ga. election probe