Fulton special grand jury wraps up Trump investigation

Special Jury consisting of 26 members – 23 members and three alternates Green light by Fulton Superior Court a year ago. By a majority vote, its 20 judges confirmed DA Fannie Willis. Request to assist in his criminal investigation into whether former President Donald Trump and his associates illegally interfered in Georgia’s last presidential election.

There was a group Approved “To examine all facts and circumstances directly or indirectly related to violations of the laws of the State of Georgia.” Although it lacked the power to issue indictments, it was empowered to produce evidence and testimony.

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There were judges selected In May and started listening Witness testimony Behind closed doors in June. The team questioned several people Including elected high officials of the state Governor Brian KempAttorney General Chris Carr, Secretary of State Broad Raffensberger and the late Speaker David Ralston, as well as dozens of others. It also successfully fought for testimony from some of Trump’s key confidantes, such as his former personal attorney. Rudy Giuliani, US Sen. Lindsay Graham and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

A grand jury’s final report is known as a special report expected to include A summary of its findings. It can also include recommendations about whether someone should be charged if a majority of jurors can agree.

However, the final decision on the imposition of charges, Ultimately it’s up to WillisWho must present evidence before a separate, regular grand jury with indictment power.

The Fulton DA’s office declined to comment Monday. Trump’s Georgia attorney, Drew Fineling, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Credit: Jason Getz / [email protected]

Credit: Jason Getz / [email protected]

Report fights

Legal precedents for special presentations are limited in Georgia because special grand juries are extremely rare.

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The final report is expected to be made public at some point. But if McBurney wants to keep it under wraps until the case is over, it could be months or even years before it’s released.

Appeals may also be made to Georgia’s superior courts. Even if McBurney decided to release the report, parts of it could be redacted at a later date.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor Kevin Riley said Fulton plans to ask the Superior Court to make the special explanation public.

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“The work of the special grand jury is a matter of national and local importance,” he said. “The report provides a clear view of the process, and its availability will increase public confidence in our justice system.”

There have been fights over special jury reports in the past.

In 2012, the foreman of a DeKalb special grand jury that investigated allegations of corruption in the county’s water management department sued the judge overseeing the investigation to force him to make the special briefing public. The document was eventually released, some seven months later.

A two-year trial

Launched in February 2021Willis’ investigation initially focused on Trump The conversation was leaked on January 2, 2021 The president pressed the secretary to “find” 11,780 votes to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia.

The investigation then expanded to include: other calls made by Trump and his associates to Georgia officials after the election; Appointment of a slate “Alternative” Republican voters In December 2020; False testimony Giuliani et al Presented to Georgia Legislators in December 2020; Attempts to exert pressure Fulton County poll worker to admit to election fraud; The Sudden resignation Atlanta-based U.S. Attorney Byung “BJ” Pak in January 2021; And this Election data breach in Coffee County in January 2021.

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Willis previously told state officials that his office was investigating potential violations of Georgia law, including criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, willful interference with the performance of election duties, conspiracy and fraud. Legal experts with the Brookings Institution think tank Other offenses such as false certification, influencing witnesses and computer hacking can be committed, he said.

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Prosecutors said they are targeting at least 18 people for prosecution and could see charges include Giuliani, alternative GOP voters and a Dallas-based attorney and podcaster. Jackie Big.

Many fought their summons in court — notably, the Grahams Challenge It went all the way to the US Supreme Court – and others agreed Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination or attorney-client or administrative privilege.

Willis and his team won every court battle, but there were some setbacks along the way.

Summons for examination and a Police Chaplain Allegations that Fulton pressured an election worker were rejected by courts in Texas and Illinois, and a Virginia appeals court has yet to rule on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Petition Refrain from testifying. Willis’ biggest face came this summer, then McBurney He ruled He couldn’t even question Republican Burt Jones, one of the GOP electors who is now Lt. Governor.

Trump backlash

The biggest question for Willis is a veteran attorney he knows Work ethic and no-nonsense behavior, whether he chooses to indict Trump. He and the former president will contest next year’s polls.

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“I don’t want you to think I’m naive or that I don’t understand the gravity of the situation,” Willis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last spring. “I get the gravity of it. … But it’s like every other case. You have to do your duty.”

No sitting or former president Ever accused.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Some of Trump’s critics see the Fulton County trial as one of the best opportunities to hold Trump accountable for what they believe are concerted efforts to undermine democracy and peacefully shift power. Some legal observers say there already is Sufficient evidence In the public domain – from sources like January 6 GroupThe Raffensperger phone call and elsewhere — to prove in court that Trump broke the law and, crucially, He knew what he was doing was wrong.

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Others have dismissed the investigation as a politically motivated investigation by an overambitious Democratic attorney. Many have argued that Willis does a better job by focusing Combating Violent Crime and Finding Substantial Backlash Criminal cases left over from the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For his part, Trump dismissed the Fulton investigation as a “witch hunt” and called his conversation with Raffensberger “perfect.” The Republican criticized Willis and other black prosecutors last year as “racist,” “extremist” and “evil.” He urged his supporters to protest Those prosecutors in Atlanta, Washington and other cities “do something wrong or illegal.”

If the case against Trump is to proceed, his lawyers Expect to struggle Fulton DA can drag out proceedings for months or more at each step.

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