OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Sen. Lindsey Graham has lost a legal effort seeking to block a subpoena that required him to provide testimony to an Atlanta grand jury.
“The Court finds that the District Attorney has shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham’s testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2022 elections,” noted U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May in a 22-page opinion rejecting Graham’s effort to block the subpoena while sending the legal matter back to state courts for any further proceedings.
As of now, the South Carolina Republican must appear before the grand jury for an Aug. 23 interview.
The grand jury was convened in Fulton County to examine whether there was a coordinated effort to illegally influence the outcome of the 2020 election results in Georgia.
BREAKING: A federal judge has *denied* Lindsey Graham's attempt to quahs his Fulton County grand jury subpoena.
"[T]he Court finds that the District Attorney has shown
extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham’s testimony."https://t.co/9Red9FgbRh
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 15, 2022
In early July, a Georgia judge ruled that GOP lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and state Sen. William Ligon, must testify in the Atlanta investigation of former President Donald Trump.
The judge did set some parameters regarding what questions they can be asked.
“This sets a precedent for any other lawmakers trying to fight subpoenas from the Fulton County DA’s special grand jury focused on the broad-reaching investigation into former president Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election,” Axios reported.
“Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Wednesday that the lawmakers must testify, but they are entitled to constitutionally protected legislative immunity during that testimony. The witnesses, he ruled, may not be asked about anything said while participating in a session of the legislature, including any subcommittee, nor any communications they’ve had with other legislators or staff about any session,” the report added.
Graham said at that time he planned to fight his subpoena.
Graham’s attorneys Bart Daniel and Matt Austin called the investigation “a fishing expedition.” In a statement, they wrote Fulton County investigators have told them Graham is “neither a subject nor a target of the investigation, simply a witness.”
“Should witnesses choose to challenge an order that they testify before the Special Purpose Grand Jury, the District Attorney will respond in the appropriate court to compel their appearance,” said Jeff DiSantis, a spokesman for the District Attorney, in a statement.
Later last month, former presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani was also ordered to provide testimony to the grand jury.
The former mayor of the Big Apple was ordered by a New York judge to provide testimony before a special grand jury in Georgia that is hearing evidence regarding claims of alleged 2020 election interference in the state by Trump and others, according to NBC News, which reviewed court filings.
The order comes after Giuliani, who served as Trump’s personal lawyer in the latter part of the former president’s term, refused to appear at a July 13 hearing before the New York judge to challenge a subpoena that sought his testimony in the probe.
NBC News adds:
Giuliani was subpoenaed earlier this month as a “material witness” by the grand jury called by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to investigate any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections.” The subpoena said Giuliani made statements at legislative hearings in Georgia falsely claiming that there had been “widespread voter fraud” in the state.
In a filing in Fulton County Superior Court on Wednesday, Willis said Giuliani has been ordered to appear before the grand jury on August 9 “and on any such other dates as this court may order.”
“There is evidence that [Giuliani’s] appearance and testimony at the hearing was part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” the subpoena noted.
In addition to Giuliani, the grand jury has also issued subpoenas to other members of Trump’s legal team. It’s not clear who has been called to testify, when, or if those individuals also plan to challenge their subpoenas.