A federal appeals court said Thursday that Lindsey Graham must testify before a special grand jury.

A three judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Fulton County District Attorney. She wants to know if Graham had the power to reject certain Absentee Ballots in Georgia.

Graham dismissed the idea of tossing out legally cast votes as ridiculous.

Graham can appeal to the full court. A spokesman for the senator's office didn't comment on the ruling.

Graham had argued that his position as a U.S. senator made him immune from having to testify. He denied doing anything wrong. The judges wrote that Graham had failed to demonstrate that the approach would violate his rights.

The investigation was opened early last year after a recording of a phone call between Trump and Raffensperger was released. Trump suggested that the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss to Biden could be found by Raffensperger.

The subpoena power of the grand jury would allow the questioning of people who wouldn't cooperate with the investigation. She is trying to get the testimony of Trump advisers and associates.

A person familiar with Pat Cipollone's testimony said that the former White House counsel testified before the special grand jury. CNN reported that Cipollone had appeared.

Cipollone didn't think there was enough fraud to affect the outcome of the election.

In early July, a group of people close to Trump were the first to be asked to testify. The judge refused to toss out the subpoena. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard Graham's appeal.

The speech or debate clause of the U.S. constitution protects Graham from having to testify, according to his lawyers. He believes that the call he made to Raffensperger was protected because he was asking questions to inform his decisions.

According to lawyers on the team, comments Graham made in news interviews at the time, as well as statements by Raffensperger, show that he was motivated by politics.

The scope of the special grand jury's investigation is not related to the Raffensperger call. They would like to know if Graham was briefed on the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia and other places.

The principle of "sovereign immunity" protects a senator from being summoned by a state prosecutor, according to Graham's lawyers.

Graham's status as a "high-ranking official" protects him from having to testify even if the speech or debate clause doesn't apply. They argued that he failed to show that his testimony is essential and that the information he would provide cannot be obtained from another person.

Graham can't be questioned about any investigatory fact- finding on his call because that is protected legislative activity. She said that the special grand jury could ask him about his communications with the Trump campaign and his public statements about the election.

The judges ruled that Graham could note any issues over specific areas at the time of his questioning, but that he couldn't ask about investigatory conduct.

Some people have already appeared before the grand jury. Rudy Giuliani was told he could face criminal charges in the investigation. The attorneys have appeared before the panel.

Papers have been filed for testimony from others, including former White House chief of staff MarkMeadows.

That's right.

Meg Kinnard can be reached on her social media accounts.

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Two Associated Press writers contributed to the report.