South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s appeal to delay testimony the Fulton County grand jury investigating Trump has been rejected

A federal court has dismissed Sen. Lindsey Graham’s second effort to delay his testimony before the Fulton County grand jury investigating whether then-President Trump and his aides interfered with the 2020 presidential election. Graham urged the district judge to block the grand jury’s power to enforce the subpoena pending an appeal and an emergency stay of the order to testify. This request was turned down.

The Republican senator from South Carolina also requested a stay from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, leaving the topic of his testimony, which is slated for next week, in the hands of a three-judge panel.

Graham had previously argued before a federal judge that he was undertaking “legislative acts” when he called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger twice after the election. Fulton County’s attorneys contended in court filings that Graham’s activities were not legislative, claiming that he was “exploring the likelihood of a more favorable conclusion for Trump.”

Graham was ordered to appear as a witness before the special grand jury in Fulton County on August 23 by U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May, who decided earlier this week that Graham’s position as a senator does not afford him immunity from the grand jury.

May noted, “The Supreme Court has acknowledged that a variety of actions a member of Congress may engage in fall outside the scope of protected legislative conduct because they are ‘political in nature rather than legislative’.”

Graham, who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, appealed the verdict, claiming he was simply “doing his due diligence” before to the Electoral Count Act certification vote, in which he voted to certify the election, according to his office.

President Joe Biden won Georgia by a margin of less than 12,000 votes, or 0.5%. Graham had previously confirmed the phone conversations and denied any impropriety, stating on “Face the Nation” in January that he “inquired about how the system operated in regards to mail-in balloting and voting.”

The ruling on Graham comes as a succession of high-profile investigations intensify their focus on Trump. On Friday, a court in New York City denied a motion to dismiss criminal tax fraud allegations against Trump’s firm and its former chief financial officer. Two days prior, at a court-ordered deposition in an expansive civil fraud investigation led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, Trump invoking the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times. The deposition took place two days after the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate for allegedly inappropriately removed top-secret materials from the White House. In one case, federal officials are examining whether Trump violated three criminal crimes, including the Espionage Act.

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