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Lindsey Graham Taps Nelson Mullins to Fight Georgia Subpoena (1)

July 6, 2022, 6:15 PMUpdated: July 6, 2022, 8:46 PM

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough is the latest large law firm to represent a high-profile client caught up in a probe related to the 2020 US presidential election.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has turned to the Columbia, S.C.-based firm to fight a subpoena from a Georgia prosecutor seeking his testimony in front of a special grand jury inquiry. The panel is looking into potential election interference in the state by former President Donald Trump and others working on his behalf.

Nelson Mullins partners E. Bart Daniel and Marshall “Matt” Austin said in a statement that Graham was only a witness, not a “subject nor target of the investigation” being conducted by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

“This is all politics,” Daniel and Austin said. “Fulton County is engaged in a fishing expedition and working in concert with the January 6 Committee in Washington.” Any information provided from an interview or deposition by Graham “would immediately be shared” with that committee, they said.

Daniel and Austin are based in the firm’s Charleston, S.C. office.

Daniel is a former top federal prosecutor in the Palmetto State, whose notable clients include convicted fraudster Amir Golestan. He was hired in 2017 to co-chair the firm’s white-collar and government investigations practice. Austin, another ex-federal prosecutor, joined Nelson Mullins last year as of counsel before being elevated to partner in January.

Bloomberg News reported this week that Willis’ team has also subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who resigned in 2018 from Greenberg Traurig to focus on representing Trump’s personal interests full-time. Cleta Mitchell, who resigned in 2021 from Foley & Lardner and was hit with an ethics complaint earlier this year over her work for Trump in Georgia, has also been subpoenaed.

Nelson Mullins’ ties to Trump run deep.

The firm advised a company backed by Trump last year on its plans to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company and create a social media rival to Big Tech. Jon Sale, of counsel at Nelson Mullins, was once part of Trump’s first impeachment defense team and represented Giuliani in his response to a congressional subpoena related to that proceeding.

A political action committee affiliated with Nelson Mullins donated $10,000 to Graham’s reelection campaign in 2020, according to Federal Election Commission records. During that election cycle, the Nelson Mullins PAC donated nearly $154,400 to Democrats and $127,500 to Republicans.

Graham “plans to go to court” to challenge the Georgia subpoena and “expects to prevail,” Daniel and Austin said.

(Adds information on Nelson Mullins PAC donations in last paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com