Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has filed a new motion to crush the attempt by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to avoid testifying in her investigation into Donald Trump’s interference in the 2020 election. In a filing with the U.S. District Court located in the Northern District of Atlanta, Willis argued that Graham’s motion to stay “does not entitle him to partial quashal, and the District Attorney respectfully requests that his motion be denied.”
Graham had tried – for the third time – to argue his case for exclusion from being questioned by the grand jury under the U.S. Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause. DA Willis countered, telling the court that her office’s subpoena “does not require the disclosure of privileged or other protected matter.”
In all three motions, the vocal Trump loyalist has repeated the same arguments that were previously rejected before receiving a temporary reprieve from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Following revelations by Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that Graham made multiple calls pressuring the state’s top election official into “tossing out” legally cast mail-in ballots, Graham and his legal team have attempted to deflect from the legal issue at hand – claiming the Senator was acting in a “legislative” capacity – contrary to the Court’s findings.
“As the District Attorney has previously argued, Doc. 18 at 17 n.15, the Senator’s suggestion that the phone calls were legislative because he later held an elections-related hearing of the Judiciary Committee cannot withstand even casual scrutiny: the one hearing conducted by the Senator concerning the election called the executives of Facebook and Twitter as witnesses in order to discuss ‘censorship’ of opinions on social media. No serious contention can be made that this hearing had anything to do with Movant’s phone calls to Secretary Raffensperger. Similarly thin is the Senator’s argument that his conversation with Raffensperger about idiosyncrasies of signature verification in Georgia, or about an upcoming runoff election, was an obvious precursor to his eventual co- sponsoring of a bill altering certification procedures under the Electoral Count Act. See Doc. 40-1 at 6. It is not clear at all how changing Senate procedures under the Act ‘correct[s] flaws he discovered during his investigation.’”
By Senator Graham’s own account, he told reporters that he called Raffensperger to “persuade” the Secretary of State to use an alternative method of signature verification, and to advise him on how it could be made “better” – actions not shielded by the Speech and Debate Clause.
The same day as the call, disgraced attorney Lin Wood filed a lawsuit regarding a settlement between Georgia and the state’s Democratic party. Secretary Raffenspberger – the first to testify before the Fulton Country special grand jury – said:
“Later that day, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called me to ask about our signature match procedure. I didn’t understand why Senator Graham would interject himself into a neighboring state’s affairs. He seemed to be concerned that some counties might have approved absentee ballot signatures that should have been marked invalid, and he seemed to imply that we could audit all signatures and throw out the ballots from counties that had the highest frequency of error rates. But no state can do that.”
According to Willis’ motion, Raffensperger and Georgia Secretary of State Chief Operating Officer, Gabriel Sterling, brought up the issue of absentee ballot signature verification as a “potential court challenge,” and NOT as possible legislation.
Walter M. Schaub Jr., the former Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics criticized Graham’s actions as an “attempt to influence the outcome of the ballot counting.” Citing Graham’s status as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Schaub sent a letter five days after the November 18, 2020 call saying:
“The allegation that Senator Graham placed a behind- the-scenes call to a member of his own political party, without having launched a formal investigation, suggests that he hoped to act out of public view. Even if your committee were to reject Secretary Raffensperger’s allegation regarding the content of the communication, the conduct Senator Graham has admitted is deeply troubling. There can be no legitimate reason for the Judiciary Committee’s chairman to call a top election official regarding an ongoing vote count.”
District Attorney Willis has countered every argument attempted by Sen. Graham, accusing the southern lawmaker of “defying the facts,” Supreme Court precedent, and public interest.
We now must await the court’s final decision and, hopefully, Graham’s compelled testimony.
Read the full motion here.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick