Georgia judge says Sen. Lindsey Graham must testify in 2020 election probe

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sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) is to appear before a Georgia Grand Jury investigating possible attempts by Donald Trump and his allies to disrupt the 2020 presidential election, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

But the judge limited the number of questions prosecutors can ask, partially recognizing Graham’s claim that his status as a sitting senator protects against such investigations.

Graham’s attorneys had tried to dismiss the Georgia Grand Jury subpoena, arguing that his calls to Georgia officials after the 2020 election were part of his official Senate duties and thus immune from the investigation.

“The Court is unconvinced by the scope of Senator Graham’s argument and does not believe that the speech or debate clause completely precludes all questions related to the appeals,” U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in a decision issued Thursday. released.

The ruling is unlikely to be the final word on the case and will be reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Graham, a close Trump ally, has opposed the subpoena of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) seeking to question the South Carolina senator about calls he made to Georgia’s election officials shortly after Trump’s election to the state lost to Joe Biden. Prosecutors say Graham has “unique knowledge” about the Trump campaign and the “coordinated efforts of multiple states to influence the results” of the 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.

The Georgian criminal investigation into Trump and his allies, explained:

Graham says his actions are constitutionally protected by the constitution’s speech or debate clause, which prohibits questioning lawmakers about their legislative acts. The senator’s lawyers have said in court files that his calls were legitimate legislative activity and that they have been informed that Graham is a witness and not a target of the investigation.

In August, May rejected Graham’s request to defer his testimony and invalidate the subpoena. The Supreme Court has made it clear, she wrote, that political activity is not protected by the Constitution and that Graham can be questioned about certain aspects of the discussions.

To rule otherwise, she wrote, “any sitting senator could shield all possible criminal conduct during a telephone conversation by merely stating that the purpose of the conversation was legislative fact-finding — regardless of whether the conversation subsequently took a different turn.”

The appeals court granted Graham a temporary reprieve last week when it ordered the court judge to reconsider the senator’s claim that he should be protected from answering some questions and that the subpoena be limited. The 11th Circuit said it would hear Graham’s appeal after the District Court’s review.

In her final opinion, May acknowledged that parts of Graham’s appeals to officials in Georgia “may constitute legitimate legislative activity within the protection of the speech or debate clause.”

To the extent that Graham’s questions related to his upcoming vote on whether or not to confirm the election results, “such questions are shielded from scrutiny under the Speech or Debate Clause,” May wrote. “In other words, Senator Graham cannot be asked about the parts of the calls that were legislative fact-finding.”

But the judge wrote: “Senator Graham may be questioned about alleged attempts to “persuade” Secretary Raffensperger or other Georgian election officials to issue ballots or otherwise alter Georgia’s electoral practices and procedures. jury about Senator Graham’s alleged communication and coordination with the Trump campaign and its post-election efforts in Georgia, as well as Senator Graham’s public statements regarding the 2020 election in Georgia.

Willis’s team has interviewed more than half of the scheduled witnesses, including former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Willis is seeking testimony from former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and another former legal counsel, Sidney Powell, and is not ruling out calling Trump as a witness. A state court judge this week ordered Georgian Governor Brian Kemp (R) to comply with a subpoena, but postponed his testimony until after the November election.

Trump allies resist testifying as Georgia election probe expands

Once the special grand jury is done with its work, it will make recommendations to Willis on whether or not to bring criminal charges. Willis has said she expects this to happen before the end of the year.

The dispute over Graham’s subpoena centers on the senator’s appeals to Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and his staff, in which prosecutors said in court files that the senator asked for “re-examination of certain absentee ballots” in the state to “explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.” Graham’s lawyers have rejected that characterization, saying he was gathering information ahead of a vote to certify Biden’s election and to help support election-related legislation.

Graham was critical of the investigation this week, telling Fox News in an interview that prosecutors are not allowed to call members of Congress as witnesses “when doing their job.” He warned that such questioning would disrupt the constitutional separation of powers and promised to continue to fight the subpoena in court.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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