Appeals court temporarily stays order requiring Graham to appear before Atlanta-area grand jury


On Sunday, a federal appeals court temporarily stayed a district court order demanding that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina appear before a grand jury to investigate conspiracies to illegally influence the results of Georgia’s 2020 election.

The 11th United States Circuit Court of Appeals returned the proceedings around the Fulton County grand jury subpoena to the district court judge with the instruction that the judge consider whether the subpoena should be partially canceled or amended pursuant to the Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution.

The constitutional provision protects lawmakers from certain law enforcement actions in certain scenarios. Graham had pointed this out in his challenge to the subpoena, which required him to testify before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury in the Atlanta area on Tuesday.

The appeals court panel – made up of Circuit Judges Charles Wilson, Kevin Newsom and Britt Grant – said in its order that the district court could expedite the briefing on changing the subpoena in a way that the judge “appropriate judge”. The appeals court said that once this issue is resolved, the case would return to the appeals court for further consideration.

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May ruled last week that Graham had to testify before the Fulton County grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to nullify Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

Graham attempted to overturn the subpoena since its publication in July, including asking May to suspend her decision, which she refused on Friday, and also filing an emergency request with the 11th Circuit.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat leading the investigation, said in court filings the grand jury must hear Graham about at least two appeals he had. passed following the 2020 election to Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff. .

Raffensperger, a Republican, told CNN in 2020 that Graham hinted he should try to reject some ballots in Georgia during a statewide audit.

Graham told CNN at the time that he was trying to figure out how signatures were checked on mail-in ballots and called the suggestion that he was trying to pressure Raffensperger into rejecting “ridiculous”. legal ballot papers.

Lawyers for Graham argued that the South Carolina Republican should not be compelled to testify before the grand jury because his actions related to legislative activity as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and should be protected by the speech and debate clause of the Constitution.

“Senator Graham has not interfered in the Georgian electoral process and has never attempted to alter the outcome of any election. The conversation was about mail-in ballots and Georgia procedures,” Graham’s attorneys said. said in a court filing last month.

Graham is among a handful of key Trump allies that the Atlanta-area special grand jury has subpoenaed.

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