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Lindsey Graham testimony halted in Georgia election probe

​A federal appeals court ​on Sunday halted Sen. Lindsey Graham’s testimony before the grand jury investigating possible illegal efforts by allies of former President Donald Trump’s to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, acting on a request by the South Carolina Republican, temporarily blocked a decision by a federal judge in Atlanta that rejected Graham’s claim of congressional immunity and ordered him to appear before the special grand jury on Tuesday. ​

The three-panel appeals court returned the matter to ​US District Judge Leigh Martin May​ ​to decide whether the subpoena should be ​partially squashed or modified because of protections granted to members of Congress. ​

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The Fulton County DA wants to ask Sen. Lindsey Graham about phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger about tossing absentee ballots.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Once decided, the case will be returned to the appeals court. ​

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said her team wants to ask Graham about phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after the November election about tossing absentee ballots.

Graham has argued that it was part of his due diligence as a lawmaker who would have to vote on certifying the election. 

He said the inquiries were protected under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate clause that prevents a local official from questioning a senator about official legislative acts. 

May, in her ruling last week, said the Republican has knowledge that is material to the grand jury’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s apparent schemes to overturn the election results. 

“The mere possibility that some lines of inquiry could implicate Senator Graham’s immunity under the Speech or Debate Clause does not justify quashing the subpoena in its entirety because there are considerable areas of inquiry which are clearly not legislative in nature,” May wrote.

Willis launched the probe in March 2021 following Trump’s call to Raffensperger on Jan. 2 of that year, asking him to “find” the votes that would allow him to overturn President Biden’s victory in the state’s presidential race. ​

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump ​told Raffensperger on the call. “Because we won the state.”​

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