Special Grand Jury For Trump Criminal Investigation Requested

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Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis has requested a special grand jury for her ongoing criminal investigation of efforts by former President Donald Trump and others to undercut the 2020 presidential election outcome in Georgia, where Biden was victorious. Those efforts included a phone conversation in early January of last year in which the then-president implored Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find” enough votes to flip the state from Biden. The problem is that doing so would have required fraudulently meddling with the results, since there’s never been any legitimate evidence of some kind of initial swing due to missing votes or other systematic threats to the election’s integrity.

Willis’s request for a special grand jury has to be approved by a majority of the superior court judges in Fulton County for it to go through. As explained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, special grand juries “can subpoena witnesses, compel the production of documents, inspect and enter into certain offices for the purposes of the investigation.” Special grand juries are also kept active for longer periods of time than ordinary grand juries, and a special grand jury — again unlike ordinary ones — focuses on a single investigation.

Willis noted to Christopher S. Brasher — the chief judge of Fulton County’s Superior Court — that a “significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony,” making a special grand jury warranted. Willis pointed to Raffensperger’s remark late last year on NBC that “if [Willis] wants to interview me, there’s a process for that.” As previously recapped by the Journal-Constitution, Willis’s probe has been including an examination of potential criminal acts including “criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, intentional interference with the performance of election duties, conspiracy and racketeering,” among other looming issues. Besides Trump, other prospective targets of the probe include Rudy Giuliani, who pushed lies about last year’s electoral process to Georgia state legislators.

Willis’s investigation appears to be the only active criminal investigation focused on Trump’s attempts to undercut the 2020 presidential election outcome — although a lawyer for a Capitol rioter recently indicated in a court filing that prosecutors had been asking about Trump. As attorney Bilal Essayli, who is representing pro-Trump activist Brandon Straka, put it, prosecutors were “focused on establishing an organized conspiracy between [Straka], President Donald J. Trump, and allies of the former president to disrupt the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.” Essayli said that Straka “answered all questions truthfully and denied the existence of any such plot.” Meanwhile, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot has been considering formally recommending Trump (and others) for prosecution by the Justice Department, but these potential recommendations would not be binding.