Lindsey Graham vows to appeal federal judge’s ruling compelling him to testify before Georgia grand jury about 2020 election results

  • Trump ally Lindsey Graham is appealing a decision to enforce a Georgia subpoena.
  • A district judge recently rejected Graham’s claim that he’s protected by the Constitution. 
  • District attorney Fanni Willis wants Graham to testify about calls he made to Georgia officials.

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to appeal a federal judge’s decision compelling him to testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. 

The latest legal twist comes after US District Court Judge Leigh Martin May on Monday rejected the South Carolina Republican’s claim of constitutional immunity and said he would have to comply with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ pending subpoena.  

“Though Senator Graham argues that he is exempt from testifying as a high-ranking government official, 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 to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2022 elections,” May wrote

Graham’s office responded by saying he’s taking his case to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.  

“The Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause prevents a local official from questioning a Senator about how that Senator did his job,” Graham wrote in a statement provided to Insider. “Although the district court acknowledged that Speech or Debate may protect some of Senator Graham’s activities, she nevertheless ignored the constitutional text and binding Supreme Court precedent, so Senator Graham plans to appeal to the 11th Circuit.”

Willis subpoenaed Graham as part of her ongoing probe into Trump’s pressure campaign of Georgia officials following his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden. 

Graham’s lawyers have fought to preserve his silence by arguing that the speech and debate clause of the US Constitution offers him “absolute immunity” from scrutiny of anything done as part of his legislative duties. 

Graham contends that his calls to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump told to “find” the 12,000 votes he would have needed to negate Biden’s 2020 victory in the Peach State, qualify for this protection. 

May disagreed, stating that Graham’s intimate involvement on Trump’s behalf underscores the need for his cooperation. 

“Though other Georgia election officials were allegedly present on these calls and have made public statements about the substance of those conversations, Senator Graham has largely (and indeed publicly) disputed their characterizations of the nature of the calls and what was said and implied,” May wrote. “Accordingly, Senator Graham’s potential testimony on these issues … are unique to Senator Graham.”

Graham’s office said Monday that contacting Georgia officials was part of “doing his due diligence before the Electoral Count Act certification vote.”