The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals sent the proceedings around the Fulton County grand jury subpoena back to the district court judge with the instruction that the judge consider whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified in accordance with the Constitution’s speech and debate clause.
The appeals court panel — made up of Circuit Judges Charles Wilson, Kevin Newsom and Britt Grant — said in its order that the district court could expedite the briefing around modifying the subpoena in a manner that the judge “deems appropriate.” The appeals court said that after that question is resolved, the matter will return back before the appeals court for further consideration.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat leading the investigation, said in court filings that the grand jury needed to hear from Graham about at least two calls he placed in the wake of the 2020 election to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff.
Raffensperger, a Republican, told CNN in 2020 that Graham hinted that he should try to discard some Georgia ballots during a statewide audit.
Graham told CNN at the time that he was trying to figure out how signatures were verified on mail-in ballots and called the suggestion that he was trying to pressure Raffensperger to throw out legal ballots “ridiculous.”
Graham’s attorneys have argued that the South Carolina Republican should not be forced to testify before the grand jury because his actions were related to legislative activity as the then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and should be protected under the Constitution’s speech and debate clause.
Graham is among the handful of key Trump allies that the Atlanta-area special grand jury has subpoenaed.
CNN’s Jason Morris and Nick Valencia contributed to this report.
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