A special grand jury in Georgia tasked with investigating attempts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state has completed its work, according to a judge overseeing the inquiry.
On Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney announced that the special grand jury had completed a final report on its investigation. The findings from the special grand jury, which could include recommendations for criminal charges, have not been released, although the panel did recommend making its report available to the public.
A panel of 20 judges reviewed and signed off on the report in addition to McBurney.
McBurney said there would be a hearing on January 24 to determine whether or not the findings would be released to the public, granting interested parties the opportunity to argue against releasing the report.
Georgia law doesn’t allow special grand juries to make criminal indictments, but they can issue reports with recommendations for criminal charges to county district attorneys or other officials. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will make a decision on issuing charges based on the report’s findings, after which a regular grand jury would need to be convened.
Willis doesn’t have to wait until a decision is made on releasing the report to issue charges if her office deems it appropriate to do so.
Willis’s office has already notified around 20 individuals that she intends to charge them with crimes relating to efforts to overturn the election in the state, including Trump’s former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer. It’s currently unknown whether Trump is among the individuals that Willis intends to press criminal charges against.
Willis will consider issuing conspiracy and racketeering charges relating to actions taken by Trump’s campaign in the months after he lost the 2020 presidential election to President Joe Biden. Such charges could be based on attempts by Trump’s campaign to create a fake slate of electors to be included with legitimate ones in the certification process of the Electoral College. Charges made directly against Trump, meanwhile, could relate to his demands that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find” him enough votes to defeat Biden in the statewide presidential contest.
“So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break,” Trump said, according to the recorded phone call from two years ago.
Trump then threatened Raffensperger and his attorney, telling them they faced a “big risk” if they failed to comply with his demands.
It is illegal to coerce, command or otherwise try to get state election officials to engage in election fraud in the state of Georgia. Several legal experts believe Trump’s words are in violation of those standards.
“Once you look at what he said, trying to get Brad Raffensperger to come up with extra votes to make him a winner in Georgia…I think they have gotten a case beyond a reasonable doubt,” said former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman last summer.
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