The South Carolina senator had been fighting a subpoena for testimony issued last month. He lost the fight on Monday. “[T]he 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,” U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in rejecting Graham’s challenge.
Graham intends to appeal the ruling. “The Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause prevents a local official from questioning a Senator about how that Senator did his job,” his office said in a statement announcing his intention to appeal, adding that the Judge May “ignored the constitutional text and binding Supreme Court precedent.”
Graham, on multiple occasions after the 2020 election, spoke on the phone with Georgia election officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who said the senator suggested he should throw out legally cast ballots. Trump later pushed Raffensperger to “find” the nearly 12,000 votes it would take for him to eclipse President Biden’s total in the state. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched the probe into the alleged effort to meddle with the state’s election results in Feb. 2021. She empaneled a grand jury this May and last month subpoenaed Graham and other Trump allies who may have been involved in the effort, including Rudy Giuliani.
Judge May wrote on Monday that Graham “has unique personal knowledge about the substance and circumstances of the phone calls with Georgia election officials, as well as the logistics of setting them up and his actions afterward.” She added that “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. Accordingly, Senator Graham’s potential testimony on these issues … are unique to Senator Graham.”
Giuliani has also fought the subpoena, including by pushing to deliver his testimony by video rather than in person. His request was rejected last week, and the former Trump attorney is slated to testify in person in Atlanta this week.