Graham Asks Supreme Court to Shield Him From Testifying in Election Probe Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks at the U.S. Capitol. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Nicole Wells | Friday, 21 October 2022 07:05 PM EDT
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Friday asked the Supreme Court to step in and shield him from testifying before the Atlanta-based special grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump's alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
According to CNN, the Palmetto State Republican filed the emergency request after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled that the grand jury could compel his testimony, siding with a lower court decision.
While Graham contends that his actions in Georgia after the 2020 election were protected by the U.S. Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, the three-judge appellate panel found that "communications and coordination with the Trump campaign regarding its post-election efforts in Georgia, public statements regarding the 2020 election, and efforts to 'cajole' or 'exhort' Georgia election officials" are not constitutionally protected.
Friday's appeal was filed with Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees the 11th Circuit, according to CNN, and Thomas is likely to refer the matter to the full court.
The investigation into alleged efforts by Trump and his supporters to change the 2020 election results is being led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
According to CNN, an hour-long phone call from Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in January 2021 triggered the investigation. Trump allegedly asked Raffensperger to "find" the votes needed for him to win the state.
On Friday, Graham asked the justices to halt the lower court order while legal challenges unfold.
"This Court's action is necessary to allow this appeal to be heard before it becomes moot — before, that is, Senator Graham suffers the constitutional injury this appeal is meant to avoid," the filing said.
Graham claims in the new court filing that the information from officials in Georgia was necessary to perform his legislative duties and should be protected by the Speech or Debate clause of the Constitution.
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham said that he is tasked with "reviewing election-related issues" and the information was necessary for an "impending vote on certifying the election."
"After the phone calls, Senator Graham relied on the information gained from the calls both to vote Joe Biden the 'legitimate President of the United States' and to co-sponsor legislation to amend the Electoral Count Act," the filing said.