The special Georgia grand jury that recommended criminal indictments against former President Donald Trump and 18 allies also recommended charges for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and several others. But Graham balked at the news.
“This is troubling for the country,” Graham said during a press conference in the Upstate Friday afternoon. “We cannot criminalize senators doing their job when they have a constitutional requirement to fulfill. … We’re opening up Pandora’s box here.
“I voted to certify the election,” he added. “To suggest I am a part of some grand scheme to overturn the election makes no sense, given my actions.”
Graham reportedly was “totally surprised” by the special grand jury’s recommendation, according to a post on X social media by HuffPost senior politics reporter Igor Bobic.
The special grand jury, which led a year-long investigation into efforts by Trump and allies to subvert the 2020 election in Georgia, led to a massive trove of evidence that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis used to secure a sprawling indictment against Trump and 18 of his alleged co-conspirators.
So far, no others have been charged in the sweeping 2020 investigation by Willis into election tampering, according to media reports.
A majority of the panel, however, urged her to indict a wider selection of people linked to the effort, including among others:
- Graham, who came under scrutiny for his efforts to contact Georgia election officials after the election;
- Former U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia;
- Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn; and
- Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
According to news reports today, Graham attempted to press Georgia on vote-counting procedures in the midst of an ongoing recount. He initially resisted testifying to the special grand jury, claiming he was immune from compelled testimony due to constitutional protections. He took the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it opted not to take up the matter. Graham ultimately appeared before the special grand jury in November 2022.
The panel’s report was filed in December 2022, but was largely kept confidential until Sept. 8, 2023. The special grand jury had no power to issue indictments, but instead was to make recommendations to Willis, who then could pursue indictments through a traditional grand jury. Trump and the 18 other defendants indicted Aug. 14 were all identified by the special grand jury.
Seven special grand jurors dissented from the recommendation to indict Graham. It is unclear whether Willis will continue to seek indictments against any of the figures who have not yet been charged, despite recommendations.
This is a developing story. Follow the Charleston City Paper for updates.
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