You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Judge orders Lindsey Graham to testify in Georgia, but limits questioning

CBS News 9/1/2022 Graham Kates
Senator Lindsey Graham Speaks On President Trump's Announcement Of Troop Withdrawal In Syria © WIN MCNAMEE / Getty Images Senator Lindsey Graham Speaks On President Trump's Announcement Of Troop Withdrawal In Syria

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina must appear before a grand jury in Georgia investigating former President Donald Trump's actions following his 2020 election loss, but he cannot face questioning "about investigatory fact-finding" he conducted in phone calls made to state elections officials, a federal judge in Atlanta ruled Thursday.

Graham, a staunch Trump ally, had asked the judge to quash a subpoena for his testimony in Fulton County in its entirety, arguing his status as a U.S. senator precluded him from questioning under the Constitution's speech and debate clause.

In a 23-page ruling, Judge Leigh Martin May agreed with Graham's contention that some of his "fact-finding" following the 2020 presidential election "constitutes protected legislative activity," in particular discussions about "election procedures or allegations of voter fraud." But she ruled Thursday that "all other topics" are fair game for prosecutors. 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis indicated in court filings that she wants to ask Graham about two phone calls she says he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff shortly after the 2020 general election. During those calls, Graham asked about "reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump," Willis wrote in a petition seeking to compel his testimony.


"Senator Graham may be questioned about any alleged efforts to 'cajole' or encourage Secretary Raffensperger or other Georgia election officials to throw out ballots or otherwise alter Georgia's election practices and procedures," May wrote, adding that the grand jury can question Graham about "coordination with the Trump Campaign and its post-election efforts in Georgia."

Representatives for Graham and Willis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon