On Thursday (October 20), a federal appeals court denied Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) request to avoid testifying before a Georgia special grand jury in an ongoing investigation into alleged election interference.
The U.S. Court of Appeals of the 11th Circuit’s three-judge panel’s unanimous ruling comes after Graham filed a request earlier this month for the court to determine constitutional protections afforded to lawmakers meant he did not have to testify before a special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia.
The court’s ruling means Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) has been victorious in her pursuit of testimony from the South Carolina lawmaker. Fani has long sought testimony regarding the alleged election interference in the 2020 election.
For months, Graham has argued he doesn’t need to give that testimony, claiming the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause prevented him from testifying about calls he made regarding the state’s election in his capacity as a Senator.
But in Thursday’s ruling, the court poured cold water on those assertions, stating, “Senator Graham has failed to demonstrate that this approach will violate his rights under the Speech and Debate Clause.”
Graham’s filing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, followed a ruling by a federal trial judge that only barred questioning relating to Graham’s fact-finding calls to determine his decision on whether or not to certify the state’s results.
Yet, Graham wasn’t pleased with this ruling, arguing it still allowed investigators to pursue “backdoor ways” of questioning.
Parts of the earlier ruling were upheld in the court’s Thursday decision. In its ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit wrote, “The court noted that Senator Graham may still seek to assert his Speech and Debate Clause privilege if there is a dispute about whether a concrete question implicates his factfinding relating to certification.”