A Georgia grand jury subpoena demanding evidence from South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has been temporarily blocked by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The grand jury is primarily looking into the acts of Trump and his supporters, including Graham, who got in touch with state election officials and other people after the election, which was won by President Joe Biden both locally and nationally.
Three days after Graham’s legal team urged Thomas to postpone the senator’s appearance before the grand jury, which is looking into potential criminal involvement in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election, the subpoena was put on hold.
The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel of judges unanimously denied Graham’s plea to temporarily halt the subpoena, which requires the senator to testify on November 17 in a courtroom in Atlanta.
The appeals court found that Graham had not proven that his complaint disputing the validity of the demand for his testimony was likely to succeed. A federal district judge supported the validity of the grand jury’s subpoena last month.
Trump pressured state officials to take moves that may have overturned Biden’s victory. In an early January 2021 phone call, Trump encouraged Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state for Georgia, to “find” enough ballots to lessen Biden’s victory margin, reported CNBC.
The hold on the subpoena was ordered by Thomas, who is in charge of emergency applications like Graham’s that come from the 11th Circuit, independently and without sending the matter to the Supreme Court.
Graham has stated that the subpoena violates the speech and debate clause of the United States Constitution, which safeguards members of Congress from liability for remarks they make in connection with legislative action.
After the 2020 election, he claims to have called Raffensperger as part of a legislative investigation. But the 11th Circuit panel found last week that Graham could not be questioned about the parts of the call due to a judge’s order from a federal trial court. “As the court determined, there is a significant dispute about whether his phone calls with Georgia election officials were legislative investigations at all,” the appeals court ruling noted.
Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, criticized Thomas on Twitter for refusing to comply with the subpoena and linked it to the justice’s wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who had pushed the Trump White House and state legislatures to annul Biden’s victory in key states. “Disgusting. Any other judge in the country would recuse,” Pocan tweeted.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, wrote on Twitter, “Another day, another conflict of interest for Justice Thomas revealed.” “Add this to the laundry list of impeachable offenses he has committed. He has no business being on the Supreme Court, and no shame.”
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