Lindsey Graham Testifies Before Special Grand Jury

Republican senator took fight against testifying in Georgia all the way to the Supreme Court
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2022 4:10 PM CDT
Updated Nov 22, 2022 7:46 PM CST
SCOTUS Won't Quash Lindsey Graham Subpoena
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Sept. 13, 2022,.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)
UPDATE Nov 22, 2022 7:46 PM CST

Sen. Lindsey Graham testified Tuesday before a special grand jury that's investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally meddled in the 2020 election in Georgia. The South Carolina Republican's appearance before the panel came after a drawn-out legal fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court as Graham tried to avoid testifying. He had argued that his position as a senator shielded him from questioning. The courts rejected his assertion but did rule that prosecutors and grand jurors could not ask him about protected legislative activity. Graham's office said in a statement that he spent just over two hours with the special grand jury and "answered all questions," the AP reports. "The senator feels he was treated with respect, professionalism, and courtesy," the statement said.

Nov 1, 2022 4:10 PM CDT

In a big win for the Georgia prosecutor investigating alleged interference in the 2020 election, the Supreme Court has rejected Sen. Lindsey Graham's attempt to have a subpoena quashed. In an order issued Tuesday with no noted dissent, the top court said lower courts had already protected the Republican senator from being questioned about "informal investigative fact-finding" that Graham says is related to his legislative duties and an injunction was not necessary to safeguard his immunity under the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause, the Washington Post reports. The Tuesday order vacated a temporary block on Graham's grand jury testimony issued by Justice Clarence Thomas last week.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating calls Graham made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after the election, told the justices that “the delay resulting from a stay would be unavoidably harmful," the AP reports. In a petition seeking his testimony, she said Graham asked Raffensperger about "reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump."

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The subpoena said Graham "also made reference to allegations of widespread voter fraud” that were "consistent with public statements made by known affiliates of the Trump campaign." Lower courts have ruled that Graham can be questioned about issues including possible coordination with the Trump campaign and efforts to "cajole" or "exhort" election officials, the Post reports. Graham is now scheduled to appear before the grand jury on Nov. 17, though he could still invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions, NBC reports. The Supreme Court said in its Tuesday order that Graham "may return to the District Court should disputes arise" regarding the speech and debate clause's application to specific questions. (More Lindsey Graham stories.)

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