Aug 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Lindsey Graham must testify in Atlanta 2020 election probe, judge rules

Lindsey Graham

Photo: Ting Shen/Pool Photo via AP

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) must comply with a subpoena and testify before an Atlanta special grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Driving the news: Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in a Monday ruling that she found Graham's arguments "unpersuasive," including that he should be shielded from inquiry about 2020 calls to Georgia election officials because he was operating in his capacity as a legislator.

Why it matters: Graham is the highest profile figure to be publicly subpoenaed by the Fulton County District Attorney in the wide-reaching investigation of Georgia's 2020 election.

Flashback: The district attorney's office pointed to Georgia election officials' account that in November 2020, Graham called them and "implied for us to audit the envelopes and then throw out the ballots for counties who have the highest frequency error of signatures."

Of note: Prosecutors in court last week argued they needed to question Graham about those calls, and specifically about any possible coordination he had with the Trump campaign before or after them.

  • Graham's actions "certainly appear interconnected with former President Trump’s similar efforts to pressure Georgia election officials into 'finding 11,780 votes' and to spread Georgia election fraud disinformation," the office wrote in a prior filing.

Catch up quick: Graham's legal team, including former White House Counsel Don McGahn, argued that Graham made those calls in his position as a lawmaker and then-chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee assessing whether to certify the 2020 election.

What he's saying: Last week at a press conference, Graham called the subpoena "weaponization of the law."

  • "I was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and had to vote on certifying an election. This is ridiculous," he said. "We will go as far as we need to go and do whatever needs to be done to make sure that people like me can do their jobs without fear of some county prosecutor coming after you."  

What we're watching: In a statement, Graham's office said he plans to appeal to the 11th Circuit.

Editor's note: This post was updated with news that Graham plans to appeal the ruling.

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