Lindsey Graham’s latest attempt to delay her testimony before a Fulton County grand jury to investigate whether then-President Trump and his aides interfered in the 2020 presidential election has been denied by a federal judge. Graham asked for an emergency stay of the order to testify pending appeal, and asked the district judge to block the grand jury’s ability to invoke the subpoena. That request was denied.
A South Carolina GOP senator on Friday asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the order, possibly leaving the matter of his testimony, which is set for next week, in the hands of a 3-judge panel.
Graham had already asked a federal judge to cancel a subpoena, arguing that he was doing “legislative work” when he called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Riffensperger twice after the election. Fulton County lawyers argued in court filings that Graham’s actions were not legislative, that he was calling for Trump to “explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome.”
US District Judge Leigh Martin May ruled earlier this week that Graham’s status as a senator does not protect her from a special grand jury in Fulton County and she has to appear as a witness before the special grand jury on Aug. ordered.
May wrote, “The Supreme Court has held that there are a number of activities in which a member of Congress may undoubtedly be outside the scope of protected legislative activity because they are in fact ‘political in nature rather than legislature’.”
Graham, who was then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appealed the decision, claiming that he was merely “doing his due diligence before the Electoral Counts Act certification vote—where he voted to certify the election.” ,” according to his Office.
President Joe Biden won Georgia by a margin of only 12,000 votes, or 0.5%. Graham has admitted to phone calls in the past and has denied any allegations of wrongdoing, telling “Face the Nation” in January that he “asked about what happens when it comes to mail-in voting, balloting, etc. So how does the system work?
The verdict on Graham comes as Trump comes under scrutiny from a series of high-profile investigations. Last Friday, a New York City judge blocked an effort to quash criminal tax fraud charges against Trump’s company and its former CFO. Two days ago, Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times while participating in a court-ordered statement in a comprehensive civil fraud investigation conducted by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The statement came two days after the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, top secret documents that were allegedly improperly removed from the White House. In that case federal agents are investigating Trump for possible violations of three criminal statutes, including the Espionage Act.