Georgia grand jury completes work in Donald Trump probe tied to 2020 election

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Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney set a Jan. 24 hearing to determine whether the report would be made public.

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Georgia DA Fani Willis gives interview about Trump election probe

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis gives a sit-down interview about her investigation into Trump’s election interference in Georgia.

Michelle Hanks, USA TODAY

A special Georgia grand jury empaneled in the far-reaching fraud investigation involving Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election has completed its work, and its findings are set to be considered for public release later this month, a judge disclosed Monday.

In a brief court filing Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney noted that the grand jury, seated in May, was being dissolved, and set a Jan. 24 hearing to determine whether the panel’s report, including possible recommendations for criminal charges, would be made public.

Special-purposed grand juries do not have the authority to issue indictments. That power rests with Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis, who has been overseeing the panel’s work and is expected to decide whether criminal charges will be pursued against Trump and a number of his aides and associates.

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Willis launched the inquiry based on a Jan. 2, 2021, recorded telephone call in which Trump sought to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” more votes to deny President Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

On Monday, Trump maintained that his contacts with Georgia officials involved no wrongdoing.

“The call to the Secretary of State challenged Election Integrity, or lack there of, which is my Right/Duty,” Trump said in a posting on the social media platform Truth Social. “Also, many people on the call, & nobody ‘hung up’ or was offended!”

Some of Trump’s most senior advisers, including personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have been among dozens of witnesses to be summoned before the grand jury examining election fraud, false statements, conspiracy, oath of office violations, racketeering and violence associated with threats to the election process.

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As part of the inquiry, prosecutors have been examining the submission of an alternate slate of electors by Republicans in Georgia, one of seven states in which officials allegedly sought to reverse Trump’s defeat.

The Georgia inquiry is one of four known criminal investigations threatening the former president: A special prosecutor, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, is overseeing inquiries into election fraud and Trump’s unauthorized retention of sensitive government documents.

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In New York, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is continuing an investigation into the operation of Trump’s namesake real estate business.

That criminal inquiry has run parallel to a civil probe headed by New York Attorney General Letitia James who has filed a lawsuit against Trump and his adult children, seeking $250 million in penalties and other sanctions that would effectively shutter the Trump Organization in New York.

A trial in that case is set for October.

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In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed former longtime Justice official, Jack Smith, to manage dual investigations involving the former president: a multi-faceted campaign to subvert the 2020 election and a separate examination of Trump’s unauthorized retention of tranches of classified documents, including hundreds of sensitive records seized during an unprecedented August search of his Florida estate.

Within days of his appointment, Smith’s team issued a flurry of subpoenas to election officials in key battleground states where Trump’s team waged unsuccessful challenges to overturn President Joe Biden’s election.

More: AG Merrick Garland appoints special counsel to oversee Trump criminal investigations

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In one of its last public acts, the House committee investigating the Capitol attacks added to Trump’s potential legal woes.

Lawmakers voted unanimously last month to ask the Justice Department to take up a criminal prosecution of the former president based on charges to defraud the federal government, obstruction, false statements and inciting the insurrection.

Justice, which is not obligated to take up the committee’s referrals, has declined to comment on the panel’s vote. But Garland indicated last month that Justice investigators have been long interested in reviewing the trove of witness transcripts and evidence gathered by the panel in its 18-month investigation.

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Jack Smith was named special counsel in two investigations targeting former President Donald Trump over the 2020 election and classified documents.

Scott L. Hall, USA TODAY

Contributing: David Jackson