Type to search

Government - Federal Government - Local Government - State Law and Order Uncategorized

Fulton DA requests special grand jury for Trump probe


Fani Willis, the District Fulton County District Attorney, has requested a special grand jury to aid in her investigation of former President Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

Willis said the move was needed because a “significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony.”

Willis’ probe, launched in February 2021, is centered on the Jan. 2 phone call Trump placed to Raffensperger, in which he urged the Republican to “find” the 11,780 votes to reverse Joe Biden’s win in Georgia in November 2020. But it could also include other actions from Trump’s allies who sowed doubts about the election results, including testimony his attorney Rudy Giuliani gave at a state legislative hearing.

Special purpose grand juries are rarely used in Georgia, but legal experts suggest it could be a valuable tool for the Fulton D.A. as she investigates the conduct of the former president when he was in office.

In a Thursday letter to Christopher S. Brasher, chief judge of Fulton County’s Superior Court, Willis cited comments Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made during an October 2021 interview with NBC News, in which he said “If (Willis) wants to interview me, there’s a process for that.” Willis went on to say that the DA’s office “has received information indicating a reasonable probability that the State of Georgia’s administration of elections in 2020, including the State’s election of the President of the United States, was subject to possible criminal disruptions.”

Willis said a special grand jury would be beneficial for the Trump probe because jurors can be impaneled for as long as prosecutors need, would be focused on the one investigation and have “an investigatory focus appropriate to the complexity of the facts and circumstances involved.”

Special grand juries, which typically have 16 to 23 members, can’t issue indictments. But they can subpoena witnesses, compel the production of documents and information, and enter into certain offices for the purposes of an investigation. Special grand juries were previously used to investigate several metro Atlanta politicians for public corruption, including former Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly, ex-Clayton Sheriff Victor Hill, and ex-DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

With a regular Fulton County grand jury, Jurors are seated for two months and typically hear hundreds of felony cases before their service ends. 

The DA also requested that a Fulton County superior court judge be assigned to assist and supervise the special grand jury in conducting its investigation and duties. Willis’ request must be approved by a majority of the county’s superior court judges. 

Meanwhile, Trump has defended his call to Raffensperger. On Thursday he echoed previous false statements about widespread voter fraud in Georgia saying, “What this Civil Special Grand Jury should be looking into is not my perfect phone call, but the large-scale voter fraud that took place in Georgia.”

To move forward with charges, prosecutors would need to prove that Trump knew his conduct was unlawful when he called Raffensperger. While some legal experts believe the criminal intent, or mens rea, is there, other defense attorneys argue the case is not so cut and dried.

Trump is also facing a pair of investigations in New York: a criminal probe examining his financial dealings led by the Manhattan DA and a civil fraud investigation overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James. In addition, a committee on Capitol Hill is looking into Trump’s behavior in the run-up to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Willis’ office is also sharing information with the panel.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *