A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a request by GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham to be shielded from testifying in an investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled unanimously that Graham failed to demonstrate that his testimony will violate his rights under the Speech and Debate Clause.”
The ruling comes after the South Carolina senator earlier this month urged the court to find that constitutional protections for lawmakers bar his testimony before a Fulton County, Ga., special grand jury.
The judicial panel’s decision clears the way for District Attorney Fani Willis (D) to question Graham about calls he made as part of an alleged effort to “cajole” Georgia election officials to tilt the election in Trump’s favor.
Graham has attempted to block Willis’s subpoena for months, arguing the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause prohibits his testimony about the calls and merits the complete blocking of his appearance. He also suggested that the setup would enable investigators to leverage “backdoor ways” to question him about the calls.
But the judges disagree with his assertion and denied his motion.
“Senator Graham has failed to demonstrate that this approach will violate his rights under the Speech and Debate Clause,” the appeals court ruled, according to The Hill.
Willis opened the investigation shortly after a now-infamous call went public between Trump and Raffensperger in which the former president asked Raffensperger to “find” the roughly 11,000 votes he needed to win the state.