Judge mulls release of report by grand jury probing efforts to overturn 2020 election in Georgia
Written by ABC AUDIO on January 24, 2023
(WASHINGTON) — A Fulton County, Georgia, judge is hearing arguments Tuesday regarding whether or not to publicly release the long-anticipated report submitted recently by the special grand jury investigating efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The special grand jury submitted its confidential final report earlier this month, according to court records, after probing the matter for months.
Though the grand jury does not have the ability to return an indictment, it can make recommendations concerning criminal prosecution. Another grand jury would bring any possible charges, should they be recommended.
The central question regarding the report: Did the grand jury recommend criminal charges for Donald Trump and his allies?
Attorneys for Trump said in a statement on Monday that they would not be participating in Tuesday’s hearing — and did not expect charge recommendations.
“On behalf of President Trump, we will not be present nor participating in Tuesday’s hearing regarding the possible release of the special purpose grand jury’s report,” said the statement. “To date, we have never been a part of this process. The grand jury compelled the testimony of dozens of other, often high-ranking, officials during the investigation, but never found it important to speak with the President. He was never subpoenaed nor asked to come in voluntarily by this grand jury or anyone in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.”
Attorneys in the statement said they therefore “assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump” — although there’s no indication if that’s true or not.
A spokesperson for the DA’s office declined to comment on the status of the investigation ahead of the hearing. The office also had not yet filed a motion in court indicating its position on whether the report should be publicly released.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis officially launched the probe in February 2021, sparked in part by the now-infamous Jan. 2, 2021, phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump pleaded with Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes,” the exact number Trump needed to win Georgia.
Trump has repeatedly defended his call to Raffensperger, calling it “perfect.”
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