Georgia grand jury on Trump interference recommended multiple indictments

Buckle your seatbelts, folks — it’s going to be a bumpy ride through Fulton County, Georgia. The grand jury report into potential fraud and interference in the 2020 election by Donald Trump and his allies remains mostly sealed. However, the forewoman of the grand jury revealed in an interview today that they recommended criminal charges against several figures — and in fact the list was not “short”.

In interviews with both The New York Times and The Associated Press on Tuesday, forewoman Emily Kohrs offered limited insight into the grand jury’s report, which was only partially released last week.

“It is not a short list,” Kohrs told The Times of the people and crimes referenced in the report.

The known targets in Georgia include former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and 16 Republicans who held a meeting to carry out a fake elector plot by voting to certify the election for Trump who lost the contest.

But Kohrs demurred when asked about charges for Trump specifically.

“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” she told The Times.

A Georgia judge allowed the release of just three sections from the grand jury’s report which was expected to include charging recommendations. The public saw limited sections of just the pages of the 8-page document.

Kohrs told reporters that the report also includes eight pages of legal code appended to its recommendations.

“I will tell you that if the judge releases the recommendations, it is not going to be some giant plot twist,” she said.

“You probably have a fair idea of what may be on there. I’m trying very hard to say that delicately.”

The investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is seen as one of the most promising pathways for an eventual prosecution of Trump, who in a phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) asked him to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”

The grand jury never heard from Trump directly.

“Trump was not a battle we picked to fight,” Kohrs told The Associated Press. 

But Kohrs made clear the call was an important starting point in the investigation.

“We definitely started with the first phone call, the call to Secretary Raffensperger that was so publicized,” she said.

The few pages of the report shared publicly showed the grand jury determined that there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 contest and encouraged the prosecution of witnesses who may have lied to the panel.

“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 grand jury wrote.

“A majority of the witnesses believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it. The Grand Jury recommends that the District Attorney seeks appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling,” the report states.

Willis has said charging decisions for “multiple” future defendants are “imminent.”

In most other states, grand juries can return indictments. That’s not the case in Georgia, where they can only recommend charges. That puts the onus on Fulton County DA Fani Willis, who pushed for the grand jury investigation. It’s very likely that she will proceed with any such recommendations, assuming she thinks that she can win at trial; otherwise, Willis wouldn’t have started this process in the first place.

Assuming this involves a criminal charge against Trump himself, what does that mean? It technically doesn’t change anything legally, at least not in terms of the election. It makes a campaign a lot more complicated for Trump politically, of course, as this becomes both a distraction for his own team and another reason for Republicans to argue for a fresh start. To some extent these issues already are present in the 2024 campaign, but an indictment will make it both real and instantly acute all over again.

On the flip side of that argument, however, is the question of whether Democrats are using lawfare to influence elections. That’s not a hypothetical either; Democrats tried to kneecap Rick Perry’s presidential bid with a politically manufactured criminal indictment over a veto he cast on legislation, which got laughed out of court eventually. Trump would certainly love to cast any such charges as similarly corrupt; the grand jury report would likely have some impact on that messaging, if and when any charges get filed.

Essentially, these shoes have been hanging over the race for months. Get ready for a lot of thumping as they all come down in Fulton County, and watch New York for the potential of a couple of more long-shot shoes, too.

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