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Federal Judge Rejects Lindsey Grahams’ Claim Of ‘Sovereign Immunity’, Orders Him To Testify Before Fulton County Grand Jury



Lindsey Graham

On Monday, a federal judge in Georgia denied GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s motion to quash a subpoena, ruling that he must testify before a Fulton County grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state, and rejecting the South Carolina Republican’s claim that as a US Senator he has full immunity in the case.

In her ruling, US District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote that there are “considerable areas of inquiry” that are not “legislative in nature” and said that the District Attorney’s office has shown “extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham’s testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2020 elections.”

The judge sent the case to the Superior Court of Fulton County to hear further proceedings on the US Constitution’s “Speech or Debate” clause, the centerpiece that Graham’s attorneys argued immunized the US senator from South Carolina from having to testify in this case, CNN reports.

“Because the record must be more fully developed before the Court can address the applicability of the ‘Speech or Debate’ clause to specific questions or lines of inquiry, and because Senator Graham’s only request in removing the subpoena to this Court was to quash the subpoena in its entirety, the Case is REMANDED to the Superior Court of Fulton County for further proceedings,” May wrote in the ruling.

Graham is scheduled to appear as a witness in Atlanta in front of the special grand jury on August 23 and he’s fighting to avoid it, arguing that his calls to Georgia officials after the 2020 election were legislative activity that were directly related to his committee responsibilities as the then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“The subpoena implicates Senator Graham’s legislative acts and must therefore be quashed,” Graham’s team of lawyers said in court filings.

But the judge disagrees.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in court filings that Graham’s actions appear interconnected with the former President, and that the grand jury needed to hear from Graham about at least two calls Graham made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff in the wake of the 2020 election.

“During the telephone calls, (Graham) questioned Secretary Raffensperger and his staff 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 her court filing seeking Graham’s testimony.

“The Witness 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 said in the court documents.

Donald Wakeford, Fulton’s chief senior assistant district attorney, also argued that Graham’s claim of sovereign immunity is not applicable in this case.

“In the midst of an ongoing recount for the election of Senator’s Graham’s political ally, he called the official in another state charged with the supervising recount and suggested he change his methods,” Wakeford wrote in court files.

Revealing the far-reaching scope of the investigation, Willis has detailed saying that it includes potential “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

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