A federal judge in Atlanta ruled Thursday that Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., must comply with a subpoena and testify before a Georgia grand jury in the criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Photo by Ting Shen/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 1 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Atlanta on Thursday ruled that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., must comply with a subpoena and testify before the grand jury in the criminal probe into efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election results.
Judge Leigh Martin May limited the scope of questioning, barring questions about legitimate legislative activity related to Graham's vote on election certification, but allowing questions about alleged efforts to persuade Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to alter election practices.
"Senator Graham may be questioned about any alleged efforts to encourage Secretary Raffensperger or others to throw out ballots or otherwise alter Georgia's election practices and procedures," May said. "Likewise, the grand jury may inquire into Senator Graham's alleged communications and coordination with the Trump Campaign and its post-election efforts in Georgia, as well as into Senator Graham's public statements related to Georgia's 2020 elections."
The judge declined to quash the subpoena issued by Atlanta prosecutor Fani Willis in her criminal probe of efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election.
May wrote in her decision that Raffensperger "has stated publicly that he understood Senator Graham to be implying or otherwise suggesting that he (Secretary Raffensperger) should throw out ballots. As the Court has previously stated, any such 'cajoling,' 'exhorting,' or pressuring of Secretary Raffensperger (or any other Georgia election officials) to throw out ballots or otherwise change Georgia's election processes, including changing processes so as to alter the state's results, is not protected legislative activity under the Speech or Debate Clause."
But the judge's order said the speech and debate clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits "questions about Senator Graham's investigatory fact-finding on the telephone calls to Georgia election officials, including how such information related to his decision to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election."
May said that while Graham maintains his calls to Georgia elections officials were limited to his official legislative duties, "the Court does not find that it can simply accept Sen. Graham's sweeping and conclusory characterizations of the calls and ignore other objective facts in the record that call Sen. Graham's characterizations into question."