Crime & Justice

Trump ally must testify after Supreme Court ruling

Washington, Nov 1 (EFE).- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, will have to testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating attempts to subvert the 2020 presidential election results after the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected his appeal to avoid abiding by a subpoena.

The high court ruling includes no dissenting opinions by any of the nine justices, six of whom are conservatives, three of whom were appointed by Trump during his 2017-2021 administration.

Specifically, the Supreme Court refused to block a lower court order for Graham to testify before the Atlanta grand jury regarding efforts to nullify the presidential vote in Georgia, where Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

Graham, who is one of South Carolina’s two US senators, had filed an emergency appeal asking the high court to block his testimony, which is scheduled for Nov. 17.

Prior to Tuesday’s decision, one of the court’s justices, conservative Clarence Thomas, on Oct. 24 had issued a temporary administrative order halting Graham’s testimony until the court could issue a ruling on the matter.

The senator now will have to appear before the grand jury to provide testimony, although thanks to a lower court order he could file appeals regarding some of the questions the grand jury is planning to ask.

Graham could also elect to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to provide self-incriminating testimony.

Since last year, the South Carolina lawmaker has been fighting in court not to have to provide testimony to the grand jury in its investigation of telephone calls he made to Georgia election officials, claiming that he was merely carrying out his lawful duties as a senator about which he claims he does not have to provide an explanation.

The case is part of the probes in Georgia into whether Trump and other people, including Graham, pressured the state’s political officials regarding the results of the 2020 election.

In Georgia and other US states, special grand juries cannot file criminal accusations, but they do have the power to demand that witnesses appear to provide testimony and to collect documents, a process that takes place out of the public view.

When they finalize their probes, this kind of grand jury, comprising between 16 and 23 people, issues a report with its conclusions and sometimes recommends additional measures but it is up to prosecutors to decide whether or not to file charges, something that they would need to present evidence to another grand jury to be able to do.

EFE ssa/er/cpy/bp

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