The January 6 Project

11th Circuit Rejects Graham’s Bid to Avoid Testifying Before Fulton County Special Grand Jury

By Katherine Pompilio
Friday, October 21, 2022, 11:53 AM

On Oct. 20, a unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that prosecutors for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis can force Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to testify before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury investigating the alleged attempts of former President Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. In this instance, the special grand jury is seeking Graham’s testimony about phone calls he made to Georgia officials allegedly pressuring them to comply with Trump’s scheme. 

In a six page order, the 11th Circuit panel rejected Graham’s emergency motion to stay an Aug. 19 district court order requiring him to testify before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury, finding that Graham’s claims of total immunity under the Speech or Debate Clause were invalid. 

More specifically, the court ruled that Georgia prosecutors could question Graham about the phone calls, as well as “communications and coordination with the Trump campaign regarding its post-election efforts in Georgia, public statements regarding the 2020 election, and efforts to ‘cajole’ or ‘exhort’ Georgia election officials.”

The panel, however, found that Graham can still assert the Speech or Debate Clause privilege in response to specific questions about his phone calls that he feels may be probing investigatory conduct. These disputes are to be litigated in the future. 

You can read the 11th Circuit panel's ruling here or below: