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Georgia special grand jury finds no election fraud

The highly anticipated report fills in some details but redacts crucial information on charges

Portions of the report from a Georgia special grand jury Associated Press/Photo by John Bazemore

Georgia special grand jury finds no election fraud

Nine pages of a full report from a Georgia special grand jury were released to the public on Thursday. The key questions about what happened in 2020 and how remain unanswered, but here’s what we know from the report so far and what happens next.

The context

An hour-long phone call from then–President Donald Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger raised questions about whether fraud affected the 2020 election results. Records of the phone call reveal Trump asking Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” to push him over the edge to win the state and its electoral votes. Biden won Georgia by roughly 12,000 votes.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis spearheaded an investigation into whether Trump or others violated Georgia law by attempting to influence the election results. The investigation quickly spread to scrutinize claims that state lawmakers tried to provide fake electoral slates, that others illegally accessed machines and changed results, and that voters harassed election workers.

The jury

Twenty-six Fulton County residents were impaneled on a special grand jury, with three serving as alternates. Not all jurors were present, but according to state law, as long as they had a quorum of 16, hearings could commence. Member selection was finalized in May 2022.

They heard interviews from 75 witnesses, most of whom spoke under oath. Assistant district attorneys advised the group on state law and procedure, but no criminal lawyers were involved or elections experts. A special grand jury has no authority to issue indictments but can more thoroughly investigate a matter because they are allowed to issue subpoenas and compel testimony.

The grand jury’s report was submitted at the end of 2022, and media companies filed requests to publicly release it. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney agreed on Monday to publish portions of it, a decision Willis argued against.

The report

McBurney kept the bulk of the grand jury’s report under wraps. It deals with Trump’s specific role in Georgia’s election and whether the jury recommends criminal charges. It confirms that jurors heard testimony from poll workers, investigators, technical experts, and state employees. They also listened to community members who said fraud took place during the 2020 presidential election. Witnesses included 16 Georgia Republicans who gathered electoral votes for Trump, former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The jury also heard testimony from Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger, both Republicans.

The result

According to the released portions, the jury unanimously agreed that no widespread fraud took place in Georgia in 2020. But a majority of the jury also believes some witnesses lied under oath. They asked Willis to pursue indictments of those witnesses. The report does not say who or how many they suspect of perjury. Prosecutions for perjury are rare but could carry a 10-year maximum prison sentence and $1,000 fine if a suspect was convicted in Georgia.

What we don’t know

The released portions of the report do not refer to Trump nor do they include what charges, if any, Willis intends to bring. She hired an expert in conspiracy cases under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Any information about whether Trump broke the law by calling Raffensperger remains private.

The response

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said on Thursday that the 2020 phone calls to Raffensperger were innocent and that the former president “did absolutely nothing wrong.”

“The president participated in two perfect phone calls regarding election integrity in Georgia, which he is entitled to do,” Cheung said in a statement to CNN. “In fact, as president, it was President Trump’s constitutional duty to ensure election safety, security, and integrity.”

If Willis decides to press charges, she must make her case before a regular grand jury. At a hearing in Atlanta last month, she argued against releasing the special grand jury’s report because “decisions [on charges] are imminent.”

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a WORLD reporter and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College. She resides in Washington, D.C.


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