Trump ally Lindsey Graham must testify in Georgia court probe, federal judge orders

A federal judge on Thursday refused to quash a grand jury subpoena for Sen. Lindsey Graham, RSC, to testify in a Georgia investigation into meddling in the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump and his allies.

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May said he would only bar investigations into portions of Graham’s phone calls with Georgia election officials that helped inform congressional certification for the 2020 election.

“Senator Graham may be investigated for any alleged efforts to encourage (Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger) or others to cast ballots or otherwise alter Georgia’s election practices and procedures,” the judge ruled. “Similarly, the grand jury may investigate 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 Georgia election.”

The judge’s decision dealt a blow to the staunch Trump ally, who sought to avoid appearing before a Fulton County grand jury and prosecutors leading a broad investigation into election interference.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., addresses businesspeople during a Congressional Conversation sponsored by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on August 18.

Last week, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the lawmaker’s appearance, asking a district court judge to consider whether Graham should be protected from answering certain questions that may be protected by legislative privilege.

At issue is Graham’s involvement in trying to convince Georgia election officials about the 2020 contest.

In the weeks following the election, Graham called Raffensperger and his staff twice, requesting additional review of absentee ballots, according to court documents filed in support of the subpoena request.

Graham argued that he was engaging in legitimate inquiries as a lawmaker under the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause when he contacted Georgia officials. He denied allegations that he was pressuring officials to disqualify the ballots, saying he was trying to understand the method by which different states review ballots.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the Georgia investigation, has repeatedly dismissed Graham’s claims.

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger resisted pressure from Donald Trump, telling the president that his allegations of voter fraud were false.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger resisted pressure from Donald Trump, telling the president that his allegations of voter fraud were false.

“The Senator has not identified any protected or privileged information that is ‘required’ by his subpoena and instead has insisted, not for the first time, that he cannot be questioned in any way, let alone in any ‘partial’ way,” Willis said. argued in court this week. “The Senator’s extreme position defies the facts, the judgments of this Court, Supreme Court precedent and the public interest.”

Georgia was ground zero for former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the election. Trump had called Raffensperger, asking the secretary of state to find more votes to overturn his loss to Joe Biden in the state.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lindsey Graham: Judge refuses to quash Georgia subpoena for Trump ally

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