Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and several members of the legal team that sought to keep former President Donald Trump in power after he lost the 2020 election were issued subpoenas from a Georgia grand jury on Tuesday.
The subpoenas went to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, in addition to Graham. Attorneys who worked on Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election, including John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis, and Cleta Mitchell were also sent the documents.
A Fulton County grand jury empaneled to investigate Trump’s effort to block President Joe Biden’s win in Georgia issued the subpoenas on Tuesday, with a superior court judge signing off on them the same day.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and local news outlet 11Alive first reported the subpoenas. TPM obtained them separately.
Per the subpoenas, Fulton County DA Fani Willis is focusing on two phone calls that Graham had with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in 2020.
During the calls, Graham purportedly asked about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” the court documents said.
A Graham spokesperson did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.
The grand jury is interested in testimony from Trump’s legal team in part because of its purported involvement in creating a so-called “alternate” slate of electors for the state — a group of pro-Trump electors who signed certificates saying that they were, in fact, the true electors from the state, despite the fact that their candidate lost the election there.
The grand jury is also focused on the origins of various false claims of election fraud that Giuliani and others, including Ellis, put forward. Several of the subpoenas reference a notorious video that Giuliani and others claimed showed misconduct by election workers but had been repeatedly debunked as showing no wrongdoing of any kind. The election workers gave heartfelt testimony to the Jan. 6 Committee about how the false accusations against them ruined their lives.
The video made it all the way to President Trump and to then-Attorney General Bill Barr, who had Atlanta U.S. Attorney BJay Pak investigate it. After Pak reported back that the video’s claims were bogus, Trump pushed him out and replaced him.
Giuliani’s subpoena asks about the video’s “acquisition” and the “manner of its presentation to the Georgia State Senate,” and what Giuliani knows about other election fraud claims that the Trump campaign made.
The subpoena to Chesebro, a Trump attorney deeply involved in the false elector scheme, reveals some new information about that prong of Trump’s attempt to stay in office.
Chesebro, the subpoena says, “provided template Microsoft Word documents” for use at the Dec. 14, 2020 meeting of the state’s fake electors.
Legal commentators have noted that while actual elector certificates tend to vary widely state-by-state, the fake Trump certificates were all strikingly similar.
The subpoena also says that Chesebro worked with Georgia GOP leadership, including state party chairman David Shafer, on the effort, along with Giuliani. Shafer received a federal criminal subpoena last month as part of the DOJ’s investigation into the fake electors.
Trump devoted a huge amount of effort to blocking the win in Georgia, culminating in the Jan. 2 phone call in which he told Raffensperger that he just needed the official to find enough votes to put him over the top.
The subpoenas reach back further than that, including to a December 2020 hearing before the Georgia State Senate in which Eastman and others argued that state lawmakers should choose the fake, pro-Trump elector slate that Chesebro purportedly helped create, based on bogus allegations of widespread fraud.
“I don’t think it’s just your authority to do that, but, quite frankly, I think you have a duty to do that to protect the integrity of the election here in Georgia,” Eastman told state lawmakers at the hearing.
That statement is cited in the subpoena.