Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Thursday sent a letter to Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Christopher Brasher asking him to impanel a special grand jury.
It comes as New York Attorney General Letitia James and the House’s partisan Jan. 6 Committee both seek ways to attack trump and his family while trying to prevent him from seeking office again in 2024.
Willis wrote in the letter that her office “has received information indicating a reasonable probability that the State of Georgia’s administration of elections in 2020, including the State’s election of the President of the United States, was subject to possible criminal disruptions.”
She has declined to speak about the specifics of her investigation, but in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month she confirmed that its scope includes—but is not limited to:
- a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
- a November 2020 phone call between U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Raffensperger, the abrupt resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2021
- comments made during December 2020 Georgia legislative committee hearings on the election
Trump pushed back on the latest “witch hunt” with a statement Friday.
“So let me get this straight, I am being investigated in Georgia for asking an Attorney General with many lawyers and others knowingly on the phone to look for corruption, which definitely took place in the Georgia Presidential election—but the people who committed the crime are in no way, shape, or form under investigation and are instead being protected?” he wrote.
“The people looking for the crime are being hounded and the people who committed the crime are being protected,” he added. “This is not the American way.”
Willis’ office has tried to interview multiple witnesses and gather evidence, but some witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate without a subpoena, she wrote in the letter to Brasher.
For example, Willis wrote in the letter that Raffensperger, whom she calls an “essential witness,” has “indicated that he will not participate in an interview or otherwise offer evidence until he is presented with a subpoena by my office.”
A special grand jury would have the power to subpoena witnesses.
Raffensperger’s office did not immediately respond to an email Thursday asking whether he would decline to participate without a subpoena.
Special grand juries, which are not used often in Georgia, can help in the investigation of complex matters. They do not have the power to return an indictment but can make recommendations to prosecutors on criminal prosecutions.
Willis said the special grand jury is needed because it can serve a term longer than a normal grand jury term.
It would also be able to focus on this investigation alone, allowing it to focus on the complex facts and circumstances. And having a special grand jury would mean that the regular seated grand jury wouldn’t have to deal with this investigation in addition to their regular duties, Willis wrote.
She also asked that a superior court judge be appointed to assist and supervise the special grand jury in its investigation.
Willis, who took office in January 2021, sent letters to top elected officials in Georgia in February instructing them to preserve any records related to the general election, particularly any evidence of attempts to influence election officials.
The probe includes “potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local government bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration,” the letters said.
Willis, a longtime prosecutor, has repeatedly said that she’s aware of the intense public interest in her investigation, but she’s said she won’t be rushed. She told the AP that a decision on whether to seek charges in the case could come in the first half of this year.
In her letter to Brasher, Willis said her office has learned that people who may have tried to influence Georgia’s election have had contact with the secretary of state, the state attorney general and the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta. That means her office is the only one with the authority to investigate these matters that is not also a potential witness.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press