After an appeals court granted a temporary delay on Sunday, lawyer Joyce Vance warned that Senator Lindsey Graham’s testimony before a Georgia grand jury as part of an inquiry into the alleged efforts of former President Donald Trump to sway the 2020 race might linger for months.
In February 2021, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened an investigation into Trump’s alleged attempts to sway the Georgia election. Her team is looking into whether Trump broke the law when he asked Secretary of State Brad Ratffensperger to “discover” 11,800 ballots after he was defeated in the crucial state.
Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, was subpoenaed by the grand jury in early July amid claims that he questioned Ratffensperger about whether political bias could have led poll workers to accept ballots with mismatched signatures and whether he could throw out mail ballots in counties with a high rate of mismatched signatures. Graham has refuted these claims.
He was required by the subpoena to show up before the grand jury on Tuesday. His legal team has tried to overturn the subpoena on the grounds that his position as a senator protects him from being compelled to give testimony.
The senator received a victory on Sunday when a federal appeals court issued an order halting the earlier decision, so exempting him from testifying on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. U.S. District Judge Martin May refused his attorneys’ plea last Monday.
According to the AP, the order will basically send the case back to May, who will decide whether Graham’s status as a member of Congress necessitates a change to the subpoena.
The court’s ruling could delay any testimony from Graham for months, according to Vance, who formerly held the position of U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.
“The 11th Circuit remands the matter to the district court so that it can determine whether the subpoena can be dismissed due to the speech and debate clause, greatly delaying Fani Willis’ ability to hear Lindsey Graham’s testimony. Instead of weeks, this may be months, “She composed.
In a statement to Newsweek last month, Graham’s attorneys scorned the subpoena as “just politics.”
The statement read, “Senator Graham was completely within his rights to discuss with state authorities the protocols and procedures of administering elections as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Should it be upheld, the subpoena issued today will undermine the constitutional separation of powers and a member of Congress’s capacity to do their duties.
On Sunday, no one picked up a phone to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office. Additionally, Newsweek contacted Senator Graham’s office.
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