Utah A.G. Sean Reyes backs GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s efforts to delay questioning in 2020 presidential election probe

A federal judge ruled Graham, a South Carolina Republican, must testify as part of a Georgia investigation into efforts by Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes speaks in his office about a lawsuit filed by Utah and other states against Google, Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Last week, Reyes joined nine other states to support Sen. Lindsey Graham's efforts to delay his testimony before a Georgia grand jury investigating interference following the 2020 election.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joined with Texas and a handful of other states in supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham’s efforts to postpone his court-ordered testimony in a Georgia investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss.

A federal judge ruled earlier this month that Graham, a South Carolina Republican, must testify before a grand jury investigating possible interference by Trump and his allies after Democrat Joe Biden carried Georgia in 2020, The New York Times reported. Graham sought to quash the subpoena ordering him to testify on the grounds the investigation infringes on legal protections afforded to him as a member of Congress.

The Sept. 22 filing from Reyes and nine other state attorneys general argues Graham’s testimony in the case must be put on hold until the Eleventh Circuit reviews which topics Graham can be asked about as part of his testimony.

The states argue that the lower court judge erroneously ruled Graham could be questioned about “alleged communications and coordination with the Trump Campaign and its post-election efforts in Georgia” and any “public statements related to Georgia’s 2020 elections” as he was acting in his capacity as a legislator. They also claim “alleged attempts to encourage, ‘cajole,’ or ‘exhort’ Georgia election officials to take certain actions” are off limits.

“Though Senator Graham’s public statements themselves are not protected ... they can hardly justify the district court’s extraordinary remedy of ordering a sitting senator to testify to a grand jury. After all, the statements themselves are a matter of public record. When a legislator makes statements in performing a legislative function, those statements fall within the heart of the legislator’s constitutional immunity,” the brief alleges.

The attorneys general objected to the ruling that Graham could be questioned about a pair of phone calls he made to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensberger, where Graham allegedly pushed to throw out mail-in votes in some counties. They say that line of questioning should also be excluded because it is impossible to determine Graham’s intent.

This is the second legal filing in a week that Utah’s attorney general has joined in support of the former president.

Last week, Reyes also signed on to a different Texas-led court filing supporting Trump in his legal battle with the Department of Justice over classified documents seized during a search of his Florida residence.

Reyes’ office declined to comment on why he joined the legal action on behalf of Graham.