A special grand jury that was convened to scrutinize former President Donald Trump’s attempts three years ago to overturn the presidential election results in Georgia has stirred controversy by vaguely recommending “appropriate indictments” in the case.
“A majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it. The Grand Jury recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling,” according to a report written by the jurors.
New on @nytimes: “Read the Report” https://t.co/XPKV1C6sV1
— Interactive Journalism (@InteractiveFeed) February 16, 2023
A few small parts of the report, including the snippet above, were released Thursday after Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney granted his approval. It’s not clear whom exactly the jurors believe should be indicted. That remains hidden for the time being.
“Earlier this week, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney indicated that the full report includes a roster showing the special grand jury’s recommendations about whom to indict for what alleged crimes. That list will remain sealed until Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis makes her final charging decisions, through a separate grand jury,” according to Law & Crime.
What’s known is that the probe has been looking into the behavior and rhetoric of not only the president but also his allies, including his former attorney Rudy Giuliani.
What’s also known is that the report’s release is stirring controversy, with some talking heads warning that the former president might use the lack of details to attack.
“Critics, including Donald Trump and others, will be able to attack the findings and poke holes in what they believe the findings to be. Fulton County prosecutors and the DA’s office will be unable to respond, and the evidence supporting their conclusions will be unknown,” Noah Bookbinder, the president of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, warned in a tweet.
That may lead to skewed coverage and a poisoning of the well before an indictment. By the time the full report and any indictments come out, public perception could be settled. The press and commenters will have to try to guard against this and remember how much remains unknown.
— Noah Bookbinder (@NoahBookbinder) February 14, 2023
It’s also possible people will jump to conclusions based on what we see, either setting unrealistic expectations that are then disappointed when the full report comes out, or being underwhelmed with the initial general conclusions because we haven’t seen all the evidence.
— Noah Bookbinder (@NoahBookbinder) February 14, 2023
Bookbinder also warned that Trump haters might, based on the report, falsely assume from the get-go that this means Trump is about to be indicted and is therefore headed to prison. But this isn’t necessarily the case. After all, the former president may not even be one of the individuals on the “roster.”
The special grand jury has also ruled that there was no “widespread” election fraud in the Georgia presidential race.
“We find by unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election,” the report reads.
According to The Atlantic, the grand jury was convened in June 2022 and concluded its investigation last month.
“District Attorney Fani Willis requested the panel after audio emerged in January 2021 of Trump pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find 11,780 votes’ in the state, enough to surpass Joe Biden’s tally,” The Atlantic notes.
“The grand jury’s work is secret, but it has reportedly interviewed dozens of people, including Senator Lindsey Graham and the former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Willis appears to be interested not only in Trump’s pressure campaign against Raffensperger but also in a slate of fake electors who gathered in Georgia, and in various claims that Trump allies made about supposed election fraud,” according to The Atlantic.
Now, to be clear, the special grand jury can’t indict anyone. But it can issue recommendations that DA Willis can then implement. And that’s indeed exactly what some expect to see happen.
Special grand juries do not have the power to issue indictments, but they can provide recommended actions. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will now decide whether or not to call a regular grand jury, which does have the power to hand down indictments.
— Democracy Docket (@DemocracyDocket) February 16, 2023
“The DA may choose to put together a more traditional grand jury, which will have the power to potentially indict the former American president, his advisers who lied to Georgia legislators, and MAGA loyalists who banded together to become fake electors in a scheme to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory,” according to The Daily Beast.
“And Willis has indicated she’s heading in that direction. When discussing the release of the report last month, Willis told the judge overseeing this matter that ‘decisions are imminent,'” the left-wing outlet reported Thursday.
Meaning indictments are coming soon. It’s just that nobody knows who exactly is going to be the target …
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