US Supreme Court’s Thomas Temporarily Blocks Graham Election Case Testimony

Oct 24 (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday temporarily blocked a judge’s order that Senator Lindsey Graham testify before a grand jury in Georgia in a criminal investigation into whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies tried to illegally alter 2020. Election results in the state.

Thomas stayed the case without further action from the judge or the full Supreme Court after Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and a Trump ally, requested a stay of the subpoena. Graham filed an emergency application in the Supreme Court on Friday after a federal appeals court denied his request to block the trial.

Thomas acted on the case because he was appointed by the court to handle emergency claims from a region that includes Georgia.

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Graham argued that his position as a senator under the U.S. Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause protected him from having to answer questions about his actions as part of the legislative process.

Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis has subpoenaed Graham to answer questions about phone calls she made to Georgia’s top election official in the weeks after the November 2020 election.

Atlanta-based U.S. District Judge Lee Martin May last month reduced the range of questions Graham must answer from the grand jury, ruling that he is protected from having to discuss “investigative fact-finding” he engaged in during calls to the state. Electoral Officers.

May, however, said she could be investigated for efforts to encourage officials to throw away ballots or alleged contact with the Trump campaign. May rejected Graham’s attempt to avoid testifying altogether.

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The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday declined to block Graham’s testimony.

Graham was not a target in the investigation, but her testimony could shed more light on coordination among Trump associates to sway the election results.

The senator’s attorneys said in his filing that the filing will “undoubtedly focus on Senator Graham’s official acts — phone calls he made in the course of his official duties, prior to a critical vote under the Election Counting Act.”

Trump continues at rallies to repeat false claims that the 2020 election, won by Democrat Joe Biden, was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud.

The investigation began after Trump recorded a January 2, 2021, phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger pressuring him to reverse the state’s election results based on unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. During the phone call, Trump urged fellow Republican Raffensberger to “find” enough votes to overturn his Georgia loss to Biden.

A transcript of the call quoted Trump as telling Raffensberger: “I want to find 11,780 votes,” the number Trump would need to win Georgia. Trump has denied wrongdoing in the phone call.

Legal experts said Trump’s phone calls may have violated at least three state election laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and willful interference with election duties.

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Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Will Dunham

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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