The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on Thursday that Senator Lindsey Graham must appear before the special grand jury that is investigating efforts by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn Mr. Trump’s election loss in Georgia. The court did, however, set limits on the kinds of questions that Mr. Graham could be asked during his appearance before the grand jury.
As a result of the ruling, Mr. Graham will, at some point after the midterm elections on November 8, most likely be required to travel to the Fulton County courthouse in downtown Atlanta in order to answer questions regarding phone calls that he made to the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, in the weeks after the election in 2020.
On Thursday, neither Mr. Graham’s media agent nor his attorneys could be contacted for comment, and a spokesperson for Fani T. Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, refused to comment on the situation. However, the six-page judgement that came from the United States The decision made by the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta is a setback for Mr. Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. Over the course of Mr. Trump’s single time in office, Mr. Graham went from being a critic of Trump to being an enthusiastic supporter of Trump and his golfing buddy.
Mr. Graham’s attorneys have argued that the senator made the calls to Mr. Raffensperger because he needed to “run down allegations of irregularities in Georgia” before he voted to certify that President Biden was the legitimate winner of the presidential election. Their reasoning is based on the fact that Mr. Graham voted to certify that President Biden was the legitimate winner of the election. The attorneys also said, among other things, that Mr. Graham was examining election-related concerns in his capacity as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time of the events in question.
In July, Mr. Graham was served with a subpoena, and he immediately began engaging in a protracted legal fight in an attempt to evade having to appear in Atlanta. One of his primary points of contention was that the United States Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause would be infringed upon if he provided any kind of evidence. Constitution, which exempts members of Congress from having to answer questions in court concerning the activities they engage in while in office about their legislative work.
At the beginning of September, Judge Leigh Martin May of the United States The Northern District of Georgia District Court decided that the Speech and Debate Clause does, in fact, provide Mr. Graham with some degree of protection, but only to a certain extent. In her article, she said that Mr. Graham was exempt from answering any questions on his “investigatory fact-finding” activities during his phone conversation with Mr. Raffensperger and members of his team.
However, the judge ruled that Mr. Graham could be questioned about other matters, such as his “alleged efforts to encourage Secretary Raffensperger or others to throw out ballots or otherwise alter Georgia’s election practises and procedures.”
In its ruling on Thursday, the appeals court agreed with the decision of the lower court and sided with it, finding that Judge May had correctly reasoned that “any non-investigatory conduct covered by the subpoena was not protected” by the Speech and Debate Clause. The appeals court also found that there was a “genuine dispute about whether Senator Graham’s phone calls with Georgia election officials were investigatory.”
The court of appeals also said that over the course of Mr. Graham’s testimony, he would have the opportunity to express concerns about the constitutionality of certain questions that were directed against him and whether or not they violated his safeguards under the constitution.
Ms. Willis, a Democrat, is in charge of the inquiry that is being conducted in the state of Georgia. She has said that she is investigating the potential of a wide, multidefendant racketeering or conspiracy case. Almost twenty individuals have been singled out as potential targets of the investigation, which means that they may one day face criminal charges. Rudolph W. Giuliani is one of them. He is a former mayor of New York City and is known for making a lot of untrue claims in front of legislators in Georgia following an election.
Mr. Giuliani is one of the scores of individuals who have been asked to testify in front of the anonymous grand jury. A source who is aware with the investigation and who asked to remain anonymous in order to discuss the confidential procedures said on Thursday that former Senator Kelly Loeffler testified in front of the special grand jury in the month of August.
On Mr. Graham’s legal team is Donald F. McGahn II, who served as a White House counsel throughout the administration of Mr. Trump. The legal team has said that the prosecutors have signalled to them that Mr. Graham is a witness in the inquiry rather than a target of the investigation. However, some individuals connected to the Georgia investigation have said that they were first told they would just be acting in the capacity as witnesses, but were then informed that they would be targets of a potential indictment instead.