Graham agrees to launch subpoena challenge in Georgia

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis reached an agreement on Tuesday that would pave the way for the South Carolina Republican to challenge a recent subpoena in Atlanta.

The parties vowed in a new filing to withdraw proceedings that had been initiated in federal courts in South Carolina and Washington, D.C., in favor of a local venue, either in Fulton County Superior Court or the federal U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Graham will accept service for a subpoena for his testimony but won’t drop his right to challenge the legality of the summons, technically known as a certificate of material witness, or any claims to privilege or immunity, according to the agreement. A Wednesday hearing initially set for Charleston, S.C., was cancelled.

“I want to go to court and end this thing,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill late Tuesday. “They never served me, so today we said ‘ok, let’s go to Georgia and get this thing done.’”

The Fulton special grand jury, which is investigating whether former President Donald Trump or his allies broke the law when they tried to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results, subpoenaed Graham and other Trump confidantes earlier this month.

The 23-person body is interested in two conversations Graham had with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office in the weeks following the 2020 elections. The senator’s subpoena alleges he spoke with local officials about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.”

Graham has long denied wrongdoing and last week moved to quash his subpoena. His lawyers argued in a recent filing that the U.S. Constitution’s “Speech or Debate” clause shields him from answering questions. In late 2020 Graham was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his attorneys argued his Georgia conversations were relevant to his fact-finding and oversight responsibilities.

Graham on Tuesday said he shouldn’t be forced to testify and that doing so would be “destructive” to the U.S. Senate as a body.

Graham is not the only member of Congress fighting a subpoena from the Fulton grand jury. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, is poised to argue a similar legislative immunity defense in a hearing before a Northern District of Georgia judge on Monday.