Georgia grand jury in Trump election probe reports at least one witness may have lied
The partial release of a Georgia grand jury report evaluating former President Trump’s election interference in the state determined that there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 contest and encouraged the prosecution of witnesses who may have lied to the panel.
The limited details gleaned from the report come after a judge allowed the release of just three sections from a document expected to include charging recommendations.
“We find by unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election,” the grand jury wrote.
Jurors involved in crafting the report had previously determined it should be released to the public in its entirety, prompting a warning from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis that doing so could compromise the proceedings for “multiple” future defendants in a case where charging decisions are “imminent.”
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney largely sided with Willis, determining that only the introduction and conclusion of the report should be released, along with one section discussing potential perjury that did not name any witnesses who appeared before the grand jury.
“A majority of the witnesses believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it. The Grand Jury recommends that the District Attorney seeks appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling,” the report states.
The sparse information in the now public section mirrors sections from other similar reports, with the introduction generally reviewing the process undertaken by the grand jury and a conclusion thanking all those who aided in its efforts.
Page numbers indicate the full report would have been nine pages, with the public now able to see portions of just three.
The jurors’ conclusion that there was no widespread fraud in the election is yet another counter to claims still perpetuated by Trump and his allies and a finding that could undercut possible defenses should charges stem from the investigation.
“Critics, including Donald Trump and others, will be able to attack the findings and poke holes in what they believe the findings to be. Fulton County prosecutors and the DA’s office will be unable to respond, and the evidence supporting their conclusions will be unknown,” Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a former prosecutor, wrote on Twitter.
“Only when we see the full report and any indictments can we truly assess the strength of the case here,” he added.
Willis’s case is seen as one of the most promising pathways for an eventual prosecution of Trump, who in a phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) asked him to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”
The known targets in Georgia include former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and 16 Republicans who held a meeting to carry out the fake elector plot by voting to certify the election for Trump.
McBurney limited the portions of the report that could be shared, stressing that the grand jury process understandably does not include the same protections for witnesses as a public trial.
“There were no lawyers advocating for any targets of the investigation,” McBurney wrote in the eight-page decision, noting the process is “entirely appropriately — a one-sided exploration.”
“Potential future defendants were not able to present evidence outside the scope of what the district attorney asked them. They were not able to call their own witnesses who might rebut what other State’s witnesses had said and they had no ability to present mitigating evidence. Put differently, there was very limited due process in this process for those who might be named as indictment-worthy in the final report,” McBurney wrote.
Trump on Thursday repeated his position that his call to Raffensperger was “perfect.”
“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 wrote in a statement posted on his social media site.
“Between the two calls, there were many officials and attorneys on the line, including the Secretary of State of Georgia, and no one objected, even slightly protested, or hung up.”
Updated: 3:17 p.m.
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