Georgia DA asks for special grand jury in election probe of Donald Trump

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The Georgia prosecutor investigating possible attempts to interfere in the 2020 general election by former President Donald Trump and others has asked for a special grand jury to aid the investigation.

Fani Willis
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis poses for a photo at her office, Feb. 24, 2021 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Thursday sent a letter to Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Christopher Brasher asking him to impanel a special grand jury. She wrote in the letter that her 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’ office has tried to interview multiple witnesses and gather evidence, and some witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate without a subpoena, she wrote. A special grand jury would have the power to subpoena witnesses.

Fani Willis

Willis has declined to speak about the specifics of her investigation, but in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month she confirmed that its scope includes — but is not limited to — a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a November 2020 phone call between U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Raffensperger, the abrupt resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2021, and comments made during December 2020 Georgia legislative committee hearings on the election.

World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game Four
Former president of the United States Donald Trump waves prior to Game Four of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Truist Park on October 30, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Special grand juries, which are not used often in Georgia, can help in the investigation of complex matters. They do not have the power to return an indictment but can make recommendations on criminal prosecutions.

Willis said the special grand jury is needed because it can serve a term longer than a normal grand jury term. It would also be able to focus on this investigation alone, allowing it to focus on the complex facts and circumstances. And having a special grand jury would mean that the regular seated grand jury wouldn’t have to deal with this investigation in addition to their regular duties, she wrote.

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