Georgia district attorney permitted to seat grand jury in Trump election investigation

The Georgia prosecutor investigating possible efforts by former President Trump to interfere in the state's 2020 presidential election will be able to seat a special grand jury to aid in her probe.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) sent a letter last week to Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Christopher Brasher asking to impanel a special grand jury to assist in her investigation. A panel of judges agreed to that request on Monday.

The special grand jury will be impaneled on May 2 and can remain seated for up to a year.

“The special purpose grand jury shall be authorized to investigate any and all facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to alleged violations of the laws of the State of Georgia,” Brasher wrote in an order on Monday.

Willis’s investigation began in February and is primarily focused on a Jan. 2 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), in which the former president said he wanted Raffensperger to “find” the roughly 12,000 votes that he would need to beat President Biden in the state’s presidential election.

Special grand juries have the power to subpoena witnesses and gather documents, though they cannot return indictments. In her letter to Brasher last week, Willis noted that some witnesses have so far refused to comply with her investigation without a subpoena. 

Among those witnesses who declined to cooperate absent a subpoena was Raffensperger, who found himself on Trump’s target list last year after he rebuffed the former president’s pleas to overturn the results of the 2020 election. 

Trump has repeatedly defended his call with Raffensperger, insisting in a statement last week that nothing he said in the conversation was inappropriate and claiming that it was a “perfect phone call.”

More than a year after leaving the White House, Trump has continued to claim without evidence that he is the rightful winner of the 2020 election and that widespread fraud marred the outcome of the presidential race.

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