‘Direct Personal Knowledge’: Federal Judge Denies Lindsey Graham’s Request to Quash Subpoena Ordering Him to Testify
A federal judge in Georgia Monday morning denied U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham‘s motion to quash a subpoena from the Fulton County special purpose grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Politico’s Kyle Cheney was first to report the development.
“Senator Graham has direct personal knowledge of conversations with Georgia election officials which have been the subject of public dispute as to the nature of his inquiries and requests, including any implicit or overt suggestions to discard ballots or otherwise alter the election results,” U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May writes.
Quoting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Judge May notes that “the District Attorney described Senator Graham as a ‘necessary and material witness in [the Special Purpose Grand Jury] investigation’ not only because of his personal knowledge of the phone calls with Georgia election officials, but also because he possesses ‘unique knowledge’ concerning ‘the Trump Campaign and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.'”
READ MORE: Georgia DA Says ‘Possible’ Trump Could Be Subpoenaed, Lindsey Graham ‘Doesn’t Understand Seriousness’ of Investigation
Graham will have to prove his case if he wants to avoid testifying. As Judge May’s explanation of the arguments in the case suggests, that may prove challenging.
Judge May says in her ruling that “the Court finds that there are considerable areas of potential grand jury inquiry falling outside the Speech or Debate Clause’s protections.”
“Additionally, sovereign immunity fails to shield Senator Graham from testifying before the Special Purpose Grand Jury. Finally, though Senator Graham argues that he is exempt from testifying as a high-ranking government official, the Court finds that the District Attorney has shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham’s testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2022 elections.”
Because Sen. Graham asked for the subpoena to effectively be tossed out, the judge did not dive further into the merits, instead ordering the case be sent back to the Superior Court of Fulton County.
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He will have to either testify or convince the court he is somehow immune from doing so.
As the judge wrote, those issues Graham will have to address include his claim “that the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution completely shields his testimony,” “that the doctrine of sovereign immunity protects him from testifying,” and “that the subpoena should be quashed because he is a high-ranking government official.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
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Watch Live: Special Counsel Jack Smith Holds News Conference After Trump Criminal Indictment Unsealed
Special Counsel Jack Smith will hold a news conference Friday at 3:00 PM ET, after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed its 49-page 37-criminal count indictment against Donald Trump. The indictment also names a Trump aide.
Legal experts reviewing the indictment were stunned at not only the level of detail but the manner in which Trump treated classified documents, including allegedly storing them in boxes on the stage at Mar-a-Lago, in a bathroom, a shower, and a bedroom.
Former Dept. of Defense special Counsel Ryan Goodman, now an NYU professor of law, calls the indictment “devastating,” and concludes: “Extraordinary risks to U.S. national security. Foreign adversaries would pay tens of millions for that info.”
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Smith, who was appointed by Donald Trump as an acting U.S. Attorney, also prosecuted war crimes cases at The Hague. he also was the head of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.
Watch video of his full news conference below or at this link.
WATCH: Complete statement from Special Counsel Jack Smith: “Today an indictment was unsealed charging Donald J. Trump with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.” pic.twitter.com/llUlrvpVe4
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 9, 2023
This article has been updated to include full video of the completed news conference.
Mark Meadows Reportedly Agrees to Plea Deal – Attorney Denies
Mark Meadows, the former Trump White House Chief of Staff and former North Carolina Republican Congressman, reportedly has accepted a plea deal from the Dept. of Justice in exchange for pleading guilty to federal charges.
According to The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg, Meadows has also been co-operating with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigators, which several legal experts have recently suggested was likely happening.
“Over the course of the last year, grand jurors have heard testimony from numerous associates of the ex-president, including nearly every employee of Mar-a-Lago, former administration officials who worked in Mr Trump’s post-presidential office and for his political operation, and former high-ranking administration officials such as his final White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows,” Feinberg reports at The Independent.
“Mr Meadows has already given evidence before the grand jury and is said to be cooperating with the investigation into his former boss,” the article, published Wednesday afternoon, states. “It is understood that the former North Carolina congressman will plead guilty to several federal charges as part of a deal for which he has already received limited immunity in exchange for his testimony.”
In an update to its reporting, The Independent adds Meadows’ attorney denies he would ever enter any guilty plea:
“A source who was briefed on the agreement claimed that the alleged agreement will involve the ex-chief of staff entering pleas of guilty to unspecified federal crimes but an attorney for Mr Meadows, George Terwilliger, denied that to The Independent. Mr Terwilliger said that the idea that his client would enter any guilty pleas was ‘complete bulls***’ but did not address the matter of immunity in a brief telephone conversation with this reporter.”
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But in addition to breaking news that Meadows allegedly has accepted a plea deal, The Independent reports Trump is expected to be indicted under a portion of the Espionage Act. NCRM has not verified either of these reports.
“The Department of Justice is preparing to ask a Washington, DC grand jury to indict former president Donald Trump for violating the Espionage Act and for obstruction of justice as soon as Thursday.”
“The Independent has learned that prosecutors are ready to ask grand jurors to approve an indictment against Mr Trump for violating a portion of the US criminal code known as Section 793, which prohibits ‘gathering, transmitting or losing’ any ‘information respecting the national defence,'” The Independent adds.
In early June, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean remarked, “Meadows has a really good lawyer, a former deputy AG, who could guide him through cooperation and a minimal plea deal of some sort.”
That attorney, George Terwilliger, played coy when asked about his client’s possible grand jury testimony. Terwilliger told The New York Times in an article published late Tuesday, “Without commenting on whether or not Mr. Meadows has testified before the grand jury or in any other proceeding, Mr. Meadows has maintained a commitment to tell the truth where he has a legal obligation to do so.”
Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General Harry Litman on Tuesday said, “I’ve already observed Terwilliger’s skill in representing Meadows. But if he got him an immunity deal–as opposed to a guilty plea + promise to cooperate deal–he is a wizard. [Would] think that Meadows is way too culpable to merit a pass, but if Smith [couldn’t] make case w/o him…”
U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a former JAG attorney, tweeted on Tuesday:
“Mark Meadows had three options: 1. Take the Fifth Amendment. 2. Voluntarily cooperate. 3. Cooperate because he was given immunity or a plea deal. Based on the public reporting, it appears he did 2 or 3 above. This makes it more likely Donald Trump will be indicted, again.”
Meadows is a former chair of the far right House Freedom Caucus, and former chair of the House Oversight Committee.
NYU Law professor of law Ryan Goodman, a former U.S. Dept. of Defense Special Counsel, Wednesday morning said it is “NOT a big if” if Meadows has been granted immunity in exchange for his testimony.
If the Special Counsel has given Mark Meadows immunity to testify (NOT a big if), here’s why that’s enormously significant about the likelihood of an indictment of former President Trump in January 6th investigation.
My conversation with @ErinBurnett @OutFrontCNN 👇 pic.twitter.com/xdcJegLHPh
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) June 7, 2023
This article has been updated to include remarks from Ryan Goodman, and The Independent’s additional reporting with comment from Meadows’ attorney.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Will Santos Choose Jail? Judge Rules Names of Persons Who Provided His Half-Million Dollar Bond Must Be Made Public
A district magistrate judge Tuesday afternoon ruled the names of the three people who put up the $500,000 bond for U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) must be made public. Santos, under indictment on 13 federal charges including money laundering, wire fraud, theft of public funds, and lying to Congress, has said he would rather go to jail than allow the names to be released to the public.
Santos pleaded not guilty and was released on a $500,000 bond on May 10. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Law & Crime News’ Adam Klasfeld reports, “The identities of Rep. George Santos’s bond co-signers must be UNSEALED, a magistrate judge ruled. Santos has a brisk schedule for an appeal.”
Santos has until Friday at noon to appeal, or the documents and bond will be unsealed.
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The embattled New York Republican Congressman’s legal team has argued “the three people who helped provide Santos’ bond ‘are likely to suffer great distress, may lose their jobs, and God forbid, may suffer physical injury,'” CBS News reported Monday evening.
“There is little doubt that the suretors will suffer some unnecessary form of retaliation if their identities and employment are revealed,” the motion also says.
“My client would rather surrender to pretrial detainment than subject these suretors to what will inevitably come,” Santos’ attorney said in the filing.
CBS News adds that the House Ethics Committee is also requesting the names of the three people who helped the Congressman make bail be made public.
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