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Lindsey Graham denied motion to quash Fulton County subpoena, scores partial win

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 9/1/2022 Ryan King
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) scored a partial victory Thursday in his weekslong legal wrangling with investigators in Fulton County, Georgia, but he was dealt another blow to his overall bid to quash a subpoena against him.

Judge Robert McBurney, the county's superior court judge, kept the subpoena ordering the senator to appear before a special grand jury examining the 2020 election in place, but he conditioned that questions about Graham's decision-making process on the Senate vote to certify the election be deemed off-limits.


"[T]he Court does not find that it can simply accept Senator Graham’s sweeping and conclusory characterizations of the calls and ignore other objective facts in the record that call Senator Graham’s characterizations into question," he said.

McBurney's ruling is considerably more narrow than what the senator sought. Last week, Graham's legal team asked the court to preclude questions "on all the topics" sought by investigators, contending that the debate clause in the Constitution shielded him from such queries. The debate clause insulates legislators from certain law enforcement activity when engaging in legislative duties.

"As to the issue of partial quashal, the Court quashes the subpoena only as to questions about Senator Graham’s investigatory fact-finding on the telephone calls to Georgia election officials, including how such information related to his decision to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election," McBurney wrote in a court order.

Investigators have been keen on learning more about calls Graham had with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during the firestorm that followed the 2020 election. They subpoenaed him for testimony earlier this summer, provoking a legal challenge from Graham's lawyers.

The South Carolina senator has been adamant that the calls were part of his "legislative fact-finding" mission, but prosecutors for Fulton County disagreed and argued he was meddling in Georgia's affairs.

McBurney left points of inquiry unrelated to Graham acting in his capacity as a senator open to investigators.

"As to the other categories, the Court finds that they are not legislative, and the Speech or Debate Clause does not apply to them. As such, Senator Graham may be questioned about any alleged efforts to encourage Secretary Raffensperger or others to throw out ballots or otherwise alter their election procedures," he added. "This is not legislative fact-finding on its face."


Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis initiated the inquiry last year into whether criminal activity transpired during the fallout of the 2020 election. A special grand jury was impaneled to assist in May. The investigation was sparked by audio from a call that former President Donald Trump had with Raffensperger emphasizing the need to "find" 11,780 votes.

Since then, Willis estimates that the inquiry has secured "about 60%" of the testimony sought. This includes heavyweight witnesses such as Raffensperger, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Rudy Giuliani, and more. The inquiry recently scored a court victory to obtain testimony from Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) after the midterm elections.


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Tags: Lindsey Graham, News, Fulton County, Subpoena, 2020 Elections, Georgia, Senate

Original Author: Ryan King

Original Location: Lindsey Graham denied motion to quash Fulton County subpoena, scores partial win


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