Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a panel titled ‘Making the World’s Greatest Economy Work for All Americans’ at the America First Policy Institute America First Agenda Summit in Washington, USA , July 26, 2022.
Sarah Silbiger | Reuters
A federal judge on Friday denied a request by Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., to delay his scheduled testimony before a special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, as part of an investigation into possible interference in the ‘State. election 2020 by former president donald trump and its allies.
The decision came four days after Judge Leigh Martin May rejected Graham’s offer to cancel entirely a court-ordered subpoena for his testimony as a witness in the investigation. Graham is currently scheduled to testify before the grand jury next Tuesday.
The senator had asked the judge to temporarily suspend enforcement of the subpoena, pending his appeal of Monday’s ruling trying to quash the subpoena entirely and not testify again. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit received Graham’s appeal on Thursday.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the investigation, wants to ask Graham about phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff after the November election 2020. Raffensperger reportedly said at the time that Graham asked him about Georgia Election Lawsincluding whether the clerk had the power to discard certain absentee ballots.
Trump, who wrongly blames widespread fraud for his loss to the president Joe Bidencalled Raffensperger a few days before the convocation of the Congress to confirm the results of the elections and urged him to ‘find’ enough votes to change Georgia’s contest result.
Lawyers for Graham, a close Trump ally, had argued until May that the appeals were “essentially a legislative inquiry” by a sitting US senator and as such are protected by the speech and speech clause. constitutional debate.
May wrote in Monday’s ruling that while the clause barred Graham from testifying about the calls to Raffensperger, he could still be questioned about other matters relevant to the investigation.
In Friday’s ruling, May reiterated that some of Graham’s arguments “are completely unconvincing.”
“Senator Graham’s arguments ignore the idea that more than one topic may have been discussed on the appeals,” she wrote, and “the Court finds no basis for concluding that its rulings on these matters are likely to be reversed on the merits”.
May also dismissed the argument that these other potential areas of investigation will simply be used as a “back door” to question him about the phone calls.
“The problem for Senator Graham is that the record completely contradicts” that suggestion, May wrote. “Senator Graham’s insistent repetition of this argument does not make it true.”
The judge also accepted Willis’ argument that delaying Graham’s testimony will harm the grand jury investigation, as well as the public interest.
“The public interest is well served when a legal investigation aimed at uncovering the facts and circumstances of alleged attempts to disrupt or influence elections in Georgia is allowed to proceed without unnecessary clutter,” May wrote.
“Indeed, it is important that citizens continue to believe that there are mechanisms in place to investigate such attempts to disrupt elections and, if necessary, to prosecute these crimes which, by their very nature, strike at the heart. of a democratic system,” she wrote.