The investigation into a call former President Trump made to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger after losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden just got a whole lot more real.
On Monday, prosecutors from the Fulton County District Attorney’s office began choosing residents for a special purpose grand jury. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the jury will comprise 23 Fulton County residents and three alternates.
Although the special grand jury can’t approve indictments, it will assist Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis in building her case, as the group will have the power to issue subpoenas for documents and testimony. Ultimately, she will present her full case to a regular grand jury.
More than 30 witnesses have refused to testify voluntarily since the investigation opened in Feb. 2021—including Raffensperger—and that won’t change until June 1, Willis told the AJC, in order to avoid any conflict with the May 24 primaries.
Former Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter told the AJC Monday’s special jury selection is a “significant legal step.”
“I think (Trump) probably should be concerned in that now, instead of just investigators poking around the edges, he’s got a grand jury that can go directly to the heart of it and compel testimony… They may be able to compel his testimony.”
In addition to the call from Trump to Raffensperger, AJC reports that Willis will probe the resignation of U.S. Attorney Byung “BJay” Pak, who has testified he felt pressured to investigate bogus election fraud allegations; Sen. Lindsey Graham’s call to Raffeensperger to request he trash legally cast ballots in the state; erroneous statements from Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani during a Georgia Senate Judiciary Committee, and finally, the forged election docs falsely claiming that Trump won in 2020.
Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert C.I. McBurney will oversee the special grand jury and the DA’s entire investigation will be kept secret. The panel could meet for up to a year and at the end of their service, the group makes recommendations for the case.
“Anything’s possible because they don’t just sit there and listen to two sides present a case. They get to ask questions, they get to get involved,” Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia told the AJC. “They can break out in committees if they want to look at different things, and then come back and report to the full body.”
Willis has remained steadfast in her investigation into Trump’s call to Raffensperger, vowing to hold him to account.
“I’m going to bring an indictment—I don’t care who it is,” Willis told the AJC in April.
In early February, Willis, who is Black, was forced to ask for additional security from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after Trump lashed out at her during a rally in Texas.
The veteran district attorney alleged that since Trump’s speech, in which he called her a “racist,” she began receiving threats.
“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta, and elsewhere, because our country and our elections are corrupt,” Trump said at the rally.
Reprinted with permission from DailyKos.