Graham has formally appealed the judge’s order that he must testify on Tuesday. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) has expressed interest in questioning Graham about conversations he had in the aftermath of the 2020 election with Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) among others.
Graham’s lawyers have characterized Willis’s investigation as a fishing expedition and said his assistance to Raffensperger was consistent with his duties as a senator.
The US district judge who issued the injunction, Leigh Martin May, rejected Graham’s request for an adjournment Friday and his request for an emergency hearing.
“Senator Graham’s arguments are completely unconvincing, and they don’t even show a ‘substantial case’,” the judge wrote.
The question of whether Graham will testify is up to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, after the senator appealed Wednesday.
On file, Willis’s office tries to turn Graham’s argument about why he is entitled to a postponement.
“Senator Graham insists that he seek to postpone his appearance before the Special Purpose Grand Jury not only for his own sake, but also because of the separation of powers, federalism and ‘for the people’,” the filing said. “However, the Special Purpose Grand Jury is the People: a collection of citizens called upon to fulfill their civic duty on behalf of their neighbors and families. … The District Attorney is asking this court to dismiss Senator Graham’s motion so that he can assist them in that great task for one day without further delay.”
Democrat Joe Biden won Georgia by nearly 12,000 votes, flipping the state after a long run of Republican victories in the presidential election.
Willis’s investigation began after reports that Trump and his allies had called officials in Georgia to reverse the state’s election results. It expanded with efforts to send the names of Trump voters in multiple states to Washington in hopes of delaying or halting the certification of Biden’s election victory.
Willis named Graham, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as part of her investigation into what she sees as “a coordinated multi-state Trump campaign plan to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.” “.
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As Graham continues his efforts to kill his subpoena, a member of Congress who once expressed similar objections, Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), more than two hours before the grand jury Wednesday.
“The congressman has already given his testimony,” said his attorney, Chris Gober. “We do not expect the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to request additional information from us. Our expectation is that the role of our client in this process is over.” Gober declined to provide details.
Like Graham, Hice had attempted to quash a subpoena citing the constitutional protection of the speech or the debate clause. The judge hearing Graham’s claim, Leigh Martin May of the Northern District of Georgia, rejected Hice’s motion. Hice is a Trump ally who repeated false claims of widespread electoral fraud after the 2020 election and in his failed bid for Georgia’s secretary of state.
Related arguments from two state Republicans — Georgian Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and former state senator William Ligon — also failed in state court. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney wrote that any legal protection ends with the “grand jury’s power to question witnesses about possible criminal electoral interference by others.”
Willis requested a special grand jury this year. It started coming together in June and has identified more than 100 interested individuals. The panel heard testimony from Raffensperger and his staff, Georgia Attorney General Christopher M. Carr (R), state lawmakers and local election workers.
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On Wednesday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared before a grand jury, the most prominent member of Trump’s inner circle, for six hours to appear before the grand jury. Giuliani was told this week that he is a target of the investigation.
It is not clear what Giuliani said during his closed-door performance.
Separately, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) filed a 121-page motion late Wednesday alleging the sweeping investigation was being pursued “for improper political purposes,” and asked the court to quash a subpoena that his testimony later this year. month required.
Matt Brown in Georgia contributed to this report.