Judge Rules Georgia Officials Must Testify In Trump Investigation


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

A Georgia judge ruled that Republican lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and state Sen. William Ligon, must testify in the Atlanta investigation of former President Donald Trump.

The judge did set some parameters regarding what questions they can be asked.

“This sets a precedent for any other lawmakers trying to fight subpoenas from the Fulton County DA’s special grand jury focused on the broad-reaching investigation into former president Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election,” Axios reported.

“Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Wednesday that the lawmakers must testify, but they are entitled to constitutionally protected legislative immunity during that testimony. The witnesses, he ruled, may not be asked about anything said while participating in a session of the legislature, including any subcommittee, nor any communications they’ve had with other legislators or staff about any session,” the report added.


South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said he will fight his own subpoena by the Fulton County District Attorney’s investigation, but that legal challenge would take place out of Georgia.

Graham’s attorneys Bart Daniel and Matt Austin called the investigation “a fishing expedition.” In a statement, they wrote Fulton County investigators have told them Graham is “neither a subject nor a target of the investigation, simply a witness.”

“Should witnesses choose to challenge an order that they testify before the Special Purpose Grand Jury, the District Attorney will respond in the appropriate court to compel their appearance,” said Jeff DiSantis, a spokesman for the District Attorney, in a statement.

Earlier this week in a separate case, a federal judge upheld several parts of a voter integrity law that was passed in Georgia.

Judge J.P. Boulee of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia upheld the parts of Georgia’s Election Integrity Law challenged by an organization that sends prospective voters prefilled absentee ballot applications.

VoteAmerica sued Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to strike down portions of the bill that added requirements for organizations or individuals that mail prefilled absentee ballot applications to potential voters.


The bill, Georgia SB 202, was signed into law in May 2021 by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. It includes three provisions that apply additional restrictions to such ballot applications.

Under the law, third-party organizations are prohibited from sending absentee ballot applications prefilled with the prospective voter’s required information. They are also prohibited from sending applications to prospective voters who have already requested an absentee ballot.

Further, the absentee ballot applications must include the following disclaimer printed on the front of the form: “This is NOT an official government publication and was NOT provided to you by any governmental entity and this is NOT a ballot. It is being distributed by [insert name and address of person, organization, or other entity distributing such document or material].”

The court sided with Raffensperger and the RNC, holding that the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights were not violated, and they did not meet the standard to obtain an injunction striking down the law.


“Further, this Court finds that combining speech (in the cover information) with the conduct of sending an application form, as Plaintiffs do here, is not sufficient to transform the act of sending the application forms into protected speech,” the court wrote. “Plaintiffs’ pro-absentee voting message is not necessarily intrinsic to the act of sending prospective voters an application form.”


The court added that the state’s disclaimer “simply presents information designed to reduce voter confusion regarding absentee ballot applications provided by third parties and to relieve election officials of the administrative burdens resulting from such confusion.”

“Third parties who may not be aware of these proceedings are presumably already preparing to distribute ballot application forms bearing the current Disclaimer. A ruling requiring a different disclaimer could cause two different application forms to be in circulation,” the judge wrote. “Prospective voters who receive both versions of the form could be confused by the conflicting statements. The Court is also mindful of unintended consequences of late-breaking changes to the law.”



Related Articles