Atlanta DA granted request for grand jury to probe Trump alleged 2020 election interference
Judges granted a Georgia prosecutor's request to seat a special grand jury to help criminally investigate former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the state's 2020 election results during the waning 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 Chief Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher said a majority of local judges agreed to authorize the panel for a year's term beginning May 2.
"The special purpose grand jury shall be authorized to investigate any and all facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to alleged violations of the laws of the State of Georgia, as set forth in the request of the District Attorney ... " the order stated.
Willis has said that her office had "received information indicating a reasonable probability" that the 2020 election was "subject to possible criminal disruptions."
"As a result, our office has opened an investigation into any coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections in this state," Willis said in a formal request for the panel.
The case is one of several pending against Trump. New York authorities are investigating his real estate business, a special U.S. House committee is investigating his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and federal authorities are investigating possible links to rioters in that attack.
The Georgia investigation focuses on a call Trump made Jan. 2, 2021, to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, urging him to "find 11,780 votes" for him to win the state. President Joe Biden was certified the winner of Georgia.
“And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated," Trump told the officials, according to a recording of the conversation obtained by The Washington Post.
Last week, Trump defended his actions, calling the contact with Raffensperger "perfect" while repeating baseless, false claims for widespread voter fraud in Georgia.
"I didn’t say anything wrong in the call, made while I was President on behalf of the United States of America, to look into the massive voter fraud which took place in Georgia," Trump said. "What this Civil Special Grand Jury should be looking into is not my perfect phone call, but the large scale voter fraud that took place in Georgia."
Contributing: Bart Jansen