Portions of a report submitted by a special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, investigating actions by former President Donald Trump and his allies in the wake of his loss in the 2020 presidential election, were made public on Thursday.
Only a few pages of the full report were released. The report indicated that some of the people who testified to the special grand jury should be charged, as they appeared to have committed perjury during their depositions.
The report indicates that the special grand jury “heard extensive testimony on the subject of alleged election fraud,” including from “poll workers, investigators, technical experts, and State of Georgia employees and officials.” They also heard from individuals “still claiming” that fraud had affected the outcome of the election.
The special grand jury, however, found “by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election.”
The names of the people who the special grand jury believed should be charged with perjury were redacted. Other parts of the report were not released, including whether additional charges should be considered relating to the attempt to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.
It’s unclear whether additional charges, unrelated to perjury, have been recommended by the grand jury. Nevertheless, Trump claimed on Truth Social that the report had given him “total exoneration.”
“The long awaited important sections of the Georgia report, which do not even mention President Trump’s name, have nothing to do with the President because President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong,” Trump said.
Media outlets were quick to correct Trump’s statement. “It did no such thing,” a report from The Associated Press said, “and portions having to do with recommended charges are still secret.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist Tamar Hallerman, who has been following the case closely, agreed.
“We don’t know if Trump was exonerated by this report,” Hallerman said. “All the names being recommended for indictments were redacted.”
There were very few findings released today, but one was crystal clear: that all 23 grand jurors unanimously agreed that there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, a rebuke of what Trump and his supporters have long claimed.
Other legal experts noted that the special grand jury’s assertion that election fraud didn’t occur may indicate that charges are imminent for the former president.
The grand jury’s statement that widespread fraud didn’t take place “establishes a basis for bringing charges…on solicitation of election fraud,” Norm Eisen, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, told CNN. The statement from the grand jury “knocks the stuffing out of his [possible] defense” if charges do come about, he added.
“I think, together with other tea leaves…this is another nail in a coffin that was already full of them,” Eisen said.
Trump faces the possibility of being charged with a felony in the state of Georgia over a phone call he made in December 2020 to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R). The call was recorded and made public the following month, prompting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to open an investigation.
In that call, Trump demanded that Raffensperger and his lawyer, Ryan Germany, “find 11,780 votes” for him — the exact number he needed to win the race against President Joe Biden.
“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 in the call.
Trump threatened Raffensperger and Germany with legal repercussions if they refused to comply. It is against state law to coerce, command or otherwise attempt to persuade state election officials to engage in election fraud.
“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, and put in the context about the January 6th committee has found, I think they have gotten a case beyond a reasonable doubt,” former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman said this past summer.
Government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) appeared to agree with that assessment, stating in a tweet that it’s “likely” charges will be coming against Trump soon, “based on recommendations from the grand jury in the unreleased sections of the report.”
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