Judges granted a Georgia prosecutor’s request to sit a special grand jury to help criminally investigate former President Donald Trump’s efforts to nullify the state’s 2020 election results in the final days of his administration.
Atlanta Area District Attorney Fani Willis made the request last week, citing the need for additional authority to compel witnesses to testify by subpoena.
In a brief order Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Christopher Brasher said a majority of local judges had agreed to authorize the panel for a one-year term beginning May 2. .
“The Special Purpose Grand Jury is authorized to investigate all facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to the alleged violations of the laws of the State of Georgia, as set forth in the District Attorney’s request…” the order said. . .
Willis said his office had “received information indicating a reasonable likelihood” that the 2020 election was “subject to possible criminal disruption.”
“As a result, our office has initiated an investigation into any coordinated attempt to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 election in this state,” Willis said in a formal request to the panel.
The case is one of many pending against Trump. New York authorities are investigating his real estate activity, a U.S. House select committee is investigating his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and federal authorities are investigating possible ties to rioters in that attack.
Following:Fact check: Trump pressured Georgia officials to recalculate state vote in his favor
Following:Georgia prosecutors are investigating voter fraud and conspiracy after Trump’s lobbying campaign in ‘high priority’ criminal investigation
The Georgia investigation centers on a call Trump made on January 2, 2021, to Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, urging him to “find 11,780 votes” for him to win the state. President Joe Biden has been certified as the winner from Georgia.
“And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, uh, you recalculated,” Trump told officials, according to a recording of the conversation obtained by The Washington Post.
Following:Brad Raffensperger, GOP target of Trump’s wrath in Georgia, warns of potential for more election violence
Trump last week defended his actions, calling the contact with Raffensperger “perfect” while repeating baseless false allegations of widespread voter fraud in Georgia.
“I said nothing wrong in the call, made while I was president on behalf of the United States of America, to investigate the massive voter fraud that took place in Georgia,” Trump said. “What this special civil grand jury should be looking at is not my perfect phone call, but the large-scale voter fraud that took place in Georgia.”
Contributor: Bart Jansen