Georgia grand jury recommends perjury indictments in Trump probe

Georgia grand jury recommends perjury indictments in Trump probe

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop to unveil his leadership team, at the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., January 28, 2023. 

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

A Georgia grand jury concluded that one or more witnesses in a probe into possible election meddling by former President Donald Trump may have lied under oath, and recommended a prosecutor pursue criminal indictments in those cases.

The special grand jury also found no significant fraud in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election won by President Joe Biden, according to portions of the final report on its monthslong investigation unsealed Thursday.

But the panel’s conclusions on whether Trump, his lawyers and political allies committed crimes while pressuring state officials to overturn the election in his favor by making false claims of election fraud were not released Thursday.

Among other actions, the grand jury that was impaneled in May was known to be eyeing a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call by Trump, in which he urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes for him.

That number of votes would have given Trump enough to win the state and its 16 Electoral College votes. Raffensperger refused to comply with Trump’s request.

The sealed sections of the report are expected to become public at some future date.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will determine whether to charge Trump or anyone else in the case.

In the unsealed sections, the grand jury said it received evidence involving more than 75 witnesses, most of which was delivered in person and under oath.

The report noted that the panel’s extensive witness list included poll workers, investigators, technical experts and state officials, as well as “persons still claiming that such fraud took place.”

“A majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” the report said.

“The Grand Jury recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling,” the report said.

The grand jury voted unanimously in concluding that “no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election,” according to the report.

The grand jury had 23 members and three alternates.

The Fulton County court in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023.

Dustin Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An attorney for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the unsealed excerpts of the report.

A spokeswoman for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign posted a lengthy Twitter thread later Thursday criticizing the grand jury for apparently rejecting a variety of dubious fraud claims in Georgia’s election.

Fulton County Judge Robert McBurney on Monday approved the disclosure of three portions of the final report because they do not identify any witnesses.

But he decided that disclosure of the entire report “at this time is not proper,” citing due process concerns.

Georgia was one of several key swing states that gave the Democratic nominee Biden his margin of victory in the Electoral College over the Republican Trump.

Trump after Election Day falsely claimed that he had won the popular election both nationally and in the swing states, arguing that he was denied victory in the Electoral College because of widespread popular ballot fraud. Trump said the election had been “rigged” against him, citing a plethora of unfounded conspiracy theories.

Multiple lawsuits filed in late 2020 by Trump’s campaign seeking to overturn state election results were almost entirely rejected in the courts.

After Raffensperger, who is Georgia’s top election refused Trump’s request to find him enough votes to reverse his loss, the stage was set for Congress to confirm the results of the Electoral College on Jan. 6, 2021.

But on that day a violent crowd of Trump’s supporters, spurred by his false election claims, invaded the U.S. Capitol, causing lawmakers to flee for safety. Hours later, after the mob left the complex, a joint session of Congress confirmed Biden’s victory in the election.

Trump was impeached in the House on a charge of fomenting the riot, but later was acquitted in the Senate.

Willis, the Fulton County DA, in February 2021 opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s call to Raffensperger.

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