ATLANTA—The top prosecutor for Georgia’s most populous county has requested a special grand jury to investigate efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results, the first indication in months that a probe is proceeding into the actions of former President
and supporters after his loss in the state.
In a letter sent Thursday, Fulton County District Attorney
told the chief judge of Fulton County’s Superior Court that the grand jury was necessary to secure key testimony.
“We have made efforts to interview multiple witnesses and gather evidence, and a significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony,” wrote Ms. Willis, a Democrat elected in 2020.
While the letter didn’t mention Mr. Trump by name, it referred to efforts by people to contact the Georgia secretary of state, the Georgia attorney general, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta. An exhibit attached to the letter mentioned Mr. Trump, who pressured Georgia Secretary of State
about the vote in a January 2021 phone call.
A “special purpose” grand jury wouldn’t have authority to return an indictment but could make recommendations regarding criminal prosecution, Ms. Willis stated. The request to impanel such a grand jury must be approved by a majority of the judges on the county’s superior court, who are elected in nonpartisan races.
In a statement on Thursday, Mr. Trump said: “What this Civil Special Grand Jury should be looking into is not my perfect phone call, but the large scale voter fraud that took place in Georgia…No more political witch hunts!”
The investigation by Ms. Willis’s office has been under way since early last year. In February 2021, she wrote to various officials urging them to preserve material that may be relevant for an investigation that “includes, but is not limited to, potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”
In November 2020,
became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia since 1992 in a narrow victory of about 12,000 votes out of five million cast. The results were confirmed by two statewide recounts and a partial forensic audit overseen by Mr. Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state.
Mr. Trump and his supporters said the results were fraudulent and tried to get them overturned by complaining publicly and pressing officials. The efforts included calls to Mr. Raffensperger and his staff. Two of the calls were recorded and later obtained by the media. Much of Mr. Trump’s ire was directed at Fulton County, a heavily Democratic county that includes most of Atlanta.
In the Thursday letter, Ms. Willis stated Mr. Raffensperger indicated he wouldn’t agree to be interviewed or offer evidence unless subpoenaed. Mr. Raffensperger has said his office has been cooperating with the investigation.
“If we’re compelled to come before a grand jury, obviously we will follow the law and come before a grand jury and testify,” Mr. Raffensperger said on Fox News later Thursday. He added, “I think she is just trying to score some cheap political points with her Democrat friends.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that the then-U. S. attorney in Atlanta, Byung J. Pak, appointed by Mr. Trump, was pushed out of office by the then-president when Mr. Pak refused to open an investigation into the Georgia election results.
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