A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, may soon consider charges against former President Donald Trump and allies who allegedly sought to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results, which he lost. Here’s what to know about that investigation and possible charges.
When did this investigation start?
The investigation, led by Fulton County District Attorney, began shortly after a recorded Jan. 2, 2021, between Trump and Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was made public. In the call, , “I just want to find 11,780 votes” — the number he would have needed to overtake Joe Biden.
The investigation ultimately developed into a sprawling probe of efforts to sway the election for Trump in the months after Mr. Biden’s win. In 2022, a special purpose grand jury was empaneled in the case.
What’s the difference between a special purpose grand jury and a regular grand jury?
The special purpose grand jury had the power to issue subpoenas and produce a final report with indictment recommendations. Over the course of six months in 2022, it interviewed 75 witnesses.
Portions of the reportin February said a “majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” and recommended that the district attorney seek “appropriate indictments” for crimes where the “evidence is compelling.”
In media interviews after the report was delivered to Willis’ office, the special purpose grand jury’smultiple indictments were recommended.
The special purpose grand jury’s findings can be presented to a regular grand jury, which would vote on whether to indict.
Who are the grand jurors?
On July 11, two groups of 23 Fulton County residents and three alternates were selected to be grand jurors. One group will meet on Mondays and Tuesdays. The other will meet Thursdays and Fridays. It is unclear which group will consider potential charges against Trump or his allies.
A majority, 12, would need to vote in favor of an indictment.
When might Trump or others be indicted?
Willis has indicated in letters to county officials that potential indictments in the case could come between July 31 and Aug. 18.
Who else is at risk of indictment?
Willis’ office sent letters in 2022 to multiple Trump allies warning that they could face charges, including so-called “fake electors” — who planned to reverse the state’s electoral college vote — and Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Who else was subpoenaed?
Among those interviewed by the special purpose grand jury were many Trump allies, including Giuliani, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. It also interviewed Georgia officials who are among Trump’s political critics, such as Raffensperger and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
What happens after an indictment?
The district attorney’s office and defense attorneys will communicate and determine a day when the defendant will turn himself in for arraignment.
Trump has previously been, on Thursday, March 30, on state felony charges, and on Thursday, June 9, in Miami on . In each case, he was arraigned and entered not guilty pleas the following Tuesday. In Fulton County, the turnaround time could be fewer or significantly more days depending on logistics and security arrangements.
This would be Trump’s third indictment?
Yes. Trump was the first former president in U.S. history to be charged with crimes when a Manhattan grand jury indicted him on March 30. In that case, he was accused of 34 state felony counts related toafter a 2016 “hush money” payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The June 9 indictment made Trump the first former president in U.S. history to be charged with federal crimes. In that case, he was accused of related to alleged “willful retention” of top secret documents.
What have Trump’s attorneys said about the Fulton County investigation?
In an interview with CBS News on Feb. 26, after portions of the special grand jury’s report were made public, attorneys for Trump criticized the investigation.
“We absolutely do not believe that our client did anything wrong, and if any indictments were to come down, those are faulty indictments. We will absolutely fight anything tooth and nail,” said attorney Jennifer Little.
His attorneys have also filed three separate efforts to quash the report, two in Fulton County courts and one with the Georgia Supreme Court.
Judges have yet to rule in any of those cases.
What has Trump said?
Trump, a Republican who is running again for president, denies wrongdoing and has defended his post-election phone call with Raffensperger as “perfect.” He has accused Willis, a Democrat who is the first Black woman to serve as Fulton County district attorney, of pursuing the investigation out of political animus and racism against him.
It’s a pair of accusations Trump also levied against Manhattan’s first Black district attorney, Democrat Alvin Bragg, following his indictment there.