Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis’ request to convene a special grand jury for the election interference inquiry against former President Donald Trump was granted by a Fulton County, Georgia justice. Willis won approval after telling the count late last week that “a significant number of witnesses were refusing to cooperate with her probe of Trump unless they were subject to grand jury subpoena,” according to CNBC.
Beginning on May 2, the jury will begin assisting the DA’s office in collecting evidence in the criminal investigation against Trump for pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to skew the outcome of the state’s 2020 election results in his favor.
While the special jury cannot issue an indictment, the panel will be entirely focused on assisting the district attorney’s office. They will provide Willis with the much-needed subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify and gather additional evidence. These steps will aid in the pursuit of possible criminal charges against the former president.
Willis intends to decide whether to bring charges against Trump by June 2022. In her request, she offered details of communication her office “received information indicating a reasonable probability that the State of Georgia’s administration of elections in 2020, including the State’s election of President of the United States, was subject to possible criminal charges.”
The DA’s office told state officials they were exploring charges including the potential breaches of Georgia law, including criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, intentional interference with the execution of election duties, conspiracy, and racketeering, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Fulton County District Attorney started this investigation into the possibility of criminal interference in Georgia’s November 2020 election in February last year. Willis’ inquiry began several weeks after Trump called Raffensperger and told him to find 11,780 votes to change the election outcome.
Willis’ request was approved by Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Christopher S. Brasher after a majority of the Georgia county’s 20 superior justices voted in favor. The special-purpose grand jury was allotted 12 months to complete its investigation and will be overseen by Judge Robert McBurney.
At the end of their probe, the jury will submit a review and recommendation to a regular grand jury about whether or not any indictments should be handed down.
The DA suggested the possibility that the recently released Trump Administration records from the National Archives ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court will hold some meaning for Georgia, according to TIME Magazine. The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has received over 800 pages of documents from the Archive in the past several days.
Willis’ office is reportedly sharing information with the House Committee and New York officials examining the former president’s businesses and charities.
Trump continues to insist more than a year later that the 2020 general election was rigged. His “stop the steal” rhetoric, legal maneuvers to overthrow the election results, and goading on his ardent supporters led to the Jan. 6th attack on the United States Capitol to interfere with the electoral vote certification. The former president is also responsible for the vast divide in the United States and the threat of another civil war.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
MSNBC: Special grand jury approved for Tump investigation in Georgia; by Steve Benen
CNBC: Georgia judge approves special grand jury for Trump election interference probe; by Dan Mangan
CNN: DA for Atlanta area granted special grand jury to probe Trump’s election interference; by Jason Morris, Sara Murray and Paul LeBlanc
TIME: As Atlanta DA’s Trump Election Probe Advances, She Explains Her Approach; by Janell Ross
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Fulton judges greenlight special grand jury for Trump probe; by Tamar Hallerman
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