August 16, 2022
A federal judge ruled on Monday, August 15, that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) must comply with a special grand jury subpoena from the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney, who is investigating former President Trump’s efforts to pressure Georgia officials into overturning the state’s 2020 election results, reports The Hill.
U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May denied Graham’s motion not to comply with the subpoena—rejecting his arguments that he has testimonial immunity from state judicial proceedings as a federal legislator.
In a 22-page decision, May said the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which shields members of Congress from being compelled to testify in court about their legislative work, does not warrant quashing the subpoena as Graham had requested.
“In sum, the Court finds that there are considerable areas of potential grand jury inquiry falling outside the Speech or Debate Clause’s protections,” May, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, wrote.
“Additionally, sovereign immunity fails to shield Senator Graham from testifying before the Special Purpose Grand Jury. Finally, though Senator Graham argues that he is exempt from testifying as a high-ranking government official, the Court finds that the District Attorney 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 2022 elections.”
A spokesperson for Graham said the senator would appeal, which he had vowed to do before Monday’s decision during a press conference last week.
“This is ridiculous,” Graham said. “This weaponization of the law needs to stop. So I will use the courts. We will go as far as we need to go and do whatever needs to be done to make sure that people like me can do their jobs without fear of some county prosecutor coming after you.”
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) subpoenaed Graham in July, seeking his testimony in the investigation into a scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Willis’s office cited phone conversations that the South Carolina senator had with a pair of Georgia officials in the weeks after Election Day.
Research contact: @thehill