Aug 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Appeals court temporarily pauses order for Lindsey Graham to testify in 2020 election probe

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

A federal appeals court on Sunday temporarily paused an order for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to testify before an Atlanta special grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election, CNN reports.

Driving the news: A federal judge had ruled Monday that Graham must comply with a subpoena to appear before the grand jury.

  • Graham then filed an appeal asking the court to stop the special grand jury from questioning him while his appeal to the decision plays out, but the judge rejected the request on Friday, ruling that Graham shouldn't be allowed to delay his appearance.

State of play: The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals returned the subpoena to the federal judge with instructions to consider whether the "subpoena should be partially quashed or modified" in accordance with the Constitution's speech or debate clause, per CNN.

  • The speech and debate clause protects lawmakers in certain instances from being implicated in lawsuits for "legislative acts" taken in pursuit of their official duties.
  • Graham had pointed to the clause in his appeal of the subpoena.
  • Once the subpoena has been modified in a manner "deemed appropriate" by the judge, the matter will be returned to the appeals court for further deliberation, according to CNN.

The big picture: 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 writes.

  • Graham was due to testify on Tuesday.
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