Lindsey Graham Must Testify in Georgia Election Probe: US Supreme Court

Lindsey Graham Must Testify in Georgia Election Probe: US Supreme Court
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in Washington on May 25, 2022. (Ting Shen/Pool/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) must testify to a grand jury in Georgia investigating the 2020 presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 1.

In an unsigned order (pdf), the court rejected Graham’s request for a stay and an injunction pending appeal.

After two lower courts turned down Graham’s efforts to block a subpoena, Graham turned to the nation’s top court in October.

Through lawyers, Graham argued that he is immune under the U.S. Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause.

The grand jury, convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, is seeking to question Graham on phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and other activities in the wake of the 2020 election.

An appeals court recently said Graham cannot be questioned on actions related to legislative fact-finding but said he can be questioned over other matters.

“The lower courts assumed that the informal investigative fact-finding that Senator Graham assertedly engaged in constitutes legislative activity protected by the Speech or Debate Clause, U. S. Const. Art. I, §6, cl. 1, and they held that Senator Graham may not be questioned about such activities,” the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.

“The lower courts also made clear that Senator Graham may return to the District Court should disputes arise regarding the application of the Speech or Debate Clause immunity to specific questions. Accordingly, a stay or injunction is not necessary to safeguard the Senator’s Speech or Debate Clause immunity,” it added.

The order eliminates a stay that Justice Clarence Thomas, a George H.W. Bush appointee, entered on Oct. 24.

Thomas received Graham’s request because he oversees the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the appeals court that recently said Graham could be questioned.

Thomas referred Graham’s request to the full court.

No dissents were noted in the court’s one-page order.

Graham’s lawyers and a spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Willis had urged the court to reject Graham’s application. She said that Graham might never be questioned if it was granted because it is only empaneled through April 2023.

“A stay would create the possibility, or perhaps the certainty, that the Grand Jury would either have to pursue an extension of its term indefinitely to await the testimony of a single witness or issue a report without receiving any testimony or information from the Senator at all,” the brief stated.

Willis convened the special grand jury this year after her office received information indicating that Georgia’s administration of the 2020 election “was subject to possible criminal disruptions” and that multiple witnesses, including Raffensperger, had refused to cooperate unless subpoenaed.

Former President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani is among those who have already testified to the grand jury.

Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, also must testify, a judge ruled in October.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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