Atlanta – A federal appeals court agreed Sunday to temporarily stay a lower court’s order requiring Sen. Lindsey Graham to testify before a special grand jury investigating plots to overturn the loss of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
A subpoena had ordered the South Carolina Republican to appear before a special grand jury on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May had denied Graham’s request last Monday to quash his subpoena and on Fridayput his decision on hold while he appealed. Graham’s lawyers appealed to the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Sunday, a three-judge panel of the appeals court issued the order temporarily halting May’s order declining to quash the subpoena. The panel sent the case back to May to decide whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified because of protections granted to members of Congress by the US Constitution.
Once May decides that issue, the case will return to the 11th Circuit for further consideration, according to the appeals court’s order.
Representatives for Graham did not immediately respond Sunday to messages seeking comment on the appeal ruling. A spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis declined to comment.
Willis opened the investigation early last year, prompted by a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that conversation, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss in the state.
Willis and his team have said they want to question Graham about two phone calls they say he made to Raffensperger and his staff shortly after the 2020 general election. During those calls, Graham asked about “reexamining certain ballots absent issued in Georgia to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a motion seeking to compel his testimony.
Graham also “referred to allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia, consistent with public statements made by known Trump campaign affiliates,” he wrote.
During a hearing earlier this month on Graham’s motion to quash his subpoena, Willis’ team argued that Graham might be able to provide information about the extent of any coordinated effort to influence the 2020 general election results in Georgia.