Business

Sen. Lindsey Graham Asks Federal Judge to Quash Subpoena From Georgia Grand Jury Probing Trump Election Meddling

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
  • Graham's move in U.S. District Court in South Carolina came after a judge in Atlanta signed the Fulton County, Georgia, special grand jury's subpoena to the Republican lawmaker.
  • A case related to that request by Graham was filed in U.S. District Court in South Carolina a day after a judge in Atlanta signed the Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury's subpoena to the Republican lawmaker.
  • That jury is seeking evidence related to efforts by Trump and others to get Georgia officials to overturn the election won there by President Joe Biden.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has asked a federal judge to quash a subpoena for his testimony issued by a Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal interference in that state's 2020 election by former President Donald Trump.

Graham's move in U.S. District Court in South Carolina came after a judge in Atlanta signed the Fulton County, Georgia, special grand jury's subpoena to the Republican lawmaker on Monday.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered that Graham, a close ally of Trump, would have to testify on Aug. 2 before the grand jury. That jury is seeking evidence related to efforts by Trump and others to get Georgia officials to overturn the election won there by President Joe Biden.

In the 13-page motion asking a federal court judge to quash the subpoena, Graham's lawyers wrote, "the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause protects him from this legal process," and that "sovereign immunity prohibits enforcement of the state court process on him as a federal officer."

The attorneys also argued that "no extraordinary circumstances exist for compelling his testimony."

Graham said in a statement, "What I'm trying to do is do my day job. If we open up county prosecutors being able to call every member of the Senate based on some investigation they think is good for the country, we're opening Pandora's Box.

Shortly after the motion became public, Judge Henry Herlong Jr. in South Carolina federal court issued an order staying execution of the subpoena pending further order by the court. The judge also scheduled a hearing on the motion for July 20.

The subpoena issued to Graham on July 5 says that he made at least two calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff about "reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump."

Graham's attorneys last week said that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is conducting the investigation of Trump, has told them that he is "neither a subject nor target of the investigation, simply a witness." Willis requested the subpoenas for Graham and other Trump allies from the grand jury.

In their motion, Graham's lawyers wrote, "The District Attorney's attempts to compel Senator Graham to appear are an abuse of process. Her attempts to force Senator Graham to travel to Georgia for seven weeks during the middle of the Senate session is a gross overreach, especially given the immunity and privilege provided by the Speech or Debate Clause, and sovereign immunity."

CNBC has requested comment from Graham's lawyers and the DA's office.

The same grand jury that has subpoenaed Graham also issued subpoenas demanding testimony from Rudy Giuliani, the lawyer who lead Trump's legal efforts to overturn Biden's election win, and other attorneys who assisted Giuliani in that work.

Trump is known to have called Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, two days before Biden's victory was due to be certified by Congress.

In that call Trump urged Raffensperger to "find" him enough votes to overturn Biden's win in Georgia.

"All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes," Trump told him.

Trump's team was seeking to flip his losses in the popular vote in Georgia and several other swing states won by the Democrat Biden in order to cancel out Biden's margin of victory in the Electoral College.

Copyright CNBCs - CNBC
Contact Us