Judge Forces Lindsey Graham To Do This

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Monday (August), U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May ruled Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) must comply with a subpoena from Fulton County’s district attorney as the DA investigates former President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Georgia officials to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Graham has been fighting to avoid compliance with the subpoena, arguing that he has testimonial immunity from state judicial proceedings being a federal legislator. But May rejected that argument in Monday’s ruling, a move that would require Graham to comply with the subpoena.

In her 22-page ruling, May noted that the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause wasn’t sufficient to have the subpoena nullified.

The Speech or Debate clause — which Graham argued applied to the grand jury subpoena and should be enough to nullify the Subpoena — protects members of Congress from having to provide testimony about their legislative work.

The ruling points to “considerable areas of potential grand jury inquiry falling outside the Speech or Debate Clause’s protections” as a reason to compel Graham to appear before the grand jury.

May also writes that “sovereign immunity fails to shield Senator Graham from testifying before the Special Purpose Grand Jury.”

The ruling also throws out Graham’s assertion that he be “exempt from testifying as a high-ranking government official,” saying that “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 influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2022 elections.”

Following the ruling, Graham quickly announced he would be appealing it.

In a statement released shortly after the ruling, Graham’s office highlighted that “The Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause prevents a local official from questioning a Senator about how that Senator did his job.”

The statement also explains that “Senator Graham was doing his due diligence before the Electoral Count Act certification vote — where he voted to certify the election.”