Aug 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge rejects Lindsey Graham's effort to delay testimony in 2020 election probe

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 5, 2022, in Washington, DC. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A federal judge said Friday that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) should not be allowed to delay his appearance before the Atlanta special grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Driving the news: Earlier this week, Graham was ordered to comply with a subpoena and testify but his attorneys filed an appeal asking the court to stop the special grand jury from questioning him while the appeal plays out.

  • U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May denied the appeal in Friday's order.

What they're saying: "Under the circumstances, further delay of Senator Graham’s testimony would greatly compound the overall delay in carrying out the grand jury’s investigation," May wrote.

  • "Further delay thus poses a significant risk of overall hindrance to the grand jury’s investigation, and the Court therefore finds that granting a stay would almost certainly result in material injury to the grand jury and its investigation," she continued.

What he's saying: Graham called the subpoena "weaponization of the law" last week.

  • "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."  

Of note: 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, Axios' Emma Hurt wrote.

Background: Prosecutors said in court last week that they needed to question Graham about calls he made to Georgia election officials, 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.

What's next: Graham is scheduled to testify on Tuesday, AP reported, but he has another motion to stay the judge's ruling pending before the 11th Circuit.

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