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Georgia Grand Jury Report on Trump and Allies Released, Recommendations for Indictments Remain Sealed

On Thursday, portions of a long-awaited report from the Georgia Grand Jury investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies were released.[0] The report's introduction and conclusion, as well as concerns the panel had about witnesses lying under oath were made public.[1]

The investigation, led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, was launched two years ago to determine whether Trump and his allies violated Georgia state law in their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.[2] The probe focused on Trump’s Jan. 2 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to “find” just enough votes to put Trump ahead of Joe Biden in the state.[3]

The grand jury heard from 75 witnesses that included an array of Trump advisers: Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, David Shafer, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Lindsey Graham, Michael Flynn, and Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.[4]

It is recommended that indictments be issued to any witnesses who are suspected of having lied under oath before the panel.[5] The special grand jury, not having the authority to issue indictments, made recommendations to Willis, who may then appoint a traditional grand jury that has the ability to make charges.

The grand jury notes that it lacked the expertise to evaluate certain cases and that Willis, after doing so, might evaluate the evidence differently. The grand jury also acknowledges that Willis has discretion “to seek indictments where she finds sufficient cause” to the extent the report “fails to include any potential violations of the referenced statutes that were shown in the investigation.”[6]

The decision over whether to bring charges is ultimately up to Willis, who suggested at a court hearing last month that her decision is “imminent.”[7] As of Feb. 16, the grand jury's recommendations on criminal charges have not been made public.[8]

0. “Read the partial Georgia grand jury report on 2020 election interference” NBC News, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/read-partial-georgia-grand-jury-report-2020-election-interference-rcna71019

1. “Witnesses in Trump election probe may have lied: Georgia grand jury” Grid, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.grid.news/story/politics/2023/02/16/witnesses-in-georgia-2020-election-probe-may-have-lied-grand-jury-says/

2. “Trump Could Face RICO Charges in Georgia, Ex-U.S. Attorney Explains” Newsweek, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-could-face-rico-charges-georgia-ex-us-attorney-barbara-mcquade-explains-1781787

3. “Judge releases part of Georgia grand jury report on alleged 2020 election tampering” POLITICO, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/02/16/judge-grand-jury-report-alleged-election-tampering-00083233

4. “Trump's Grand Jury Celebration May Be Short-Lived” Newsweek, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-georgia-grand-jury-celebration-may-short-lived-1781876

5. “Trump news – live: Trump responds to Georgia grand jury report as it seeks charges against unnamed witnesses” The Independent, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-news-georgia-jury-nikki-haley-b2283838.html

6. “Reading the Tea Leaves in Fulton County” Lawfare, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.lawfareblog.com/reading-tea-leaves-fulton-county

7. “Witnesses in Trump investigation may have lied, says Georgia grand jury report” The Guardian US, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/feb/16/georgia-grand-jury-report-witnesses-trump-investigation-perjury

8. “A Grand Jury Believes “One Or More” Witnesses May Have Lied During Inquiry Into Trump’s Efforts To Overturn The 2020 Election” BuzzFeed News, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/pocharaponneammanee/a-grand-jury-believes-one-or-more-witnesses-may-have-lied