In the Peach State, and investigation is ongoing that threatens to throw a whole heap of legal trouble the direction of former President Donald Trump, especially now that subpoenas have begun to fly.
The probe centers around communications between then-President Trump and state election officials in Georgia, who’ve suggested that these conversations were somehow improper. Of those subpoenaed, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina may have the most unique retort yet.
Lawyers for Sen. Lindsey Graham are arguing that the South Carolina Republican cannot be forced to testify before a Fulton County grand jury about alleged election interference, claiming he has “absolute immunity” under the US Constitution for phone calls he placed to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been investigating efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to pressure officials in Georgia to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.
Graham, one of the former president’s most loyal allies, was ordered earlier this month to appear before a grand jury. Others subpoenaed include Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former personal attorney.
So, how exactly does this defense work?
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal at the time, Raffensperger said that Graham had called him and suggested he throw out all mail-in ballots from counties with high rates of mismatched signatures. He refused. “We have laws in place,” Raffensperger recounted saying.
Graham has disputed that characterization of the phone call, insisting he only wished to know more about the state’s election processes.
In a filing on Wednesday with a US district court, attorneys for the senator maintained that the conversations cannot be subject to legal scrutiny and the subpoena — upheld by a Georgia state judge on Monday — should be discarded.
They insist he is protected by the Constitution’s speech and debate clause, which states that federal lawmakers “shall not be questioned in any other place” for their remarks during legislative sessions. Graham’s phone calls, because they could potentially be used to craft new laws, fall under this “legislative sphere,” the lawyers argue.
It’s certainly a bold declaration, and there’s no telling yet as to whether or not Graham will be successful.