Election fraud probe involving Trump heads to Georgia grand jury
(CNN) - On Thursday, a grand jury will get a look at the case against former President Donald Trump.
A Georgia prosecutor is investigating Trump’s effort to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.
Grand juries are convening in Fulton County on Thursday, offering the district attorney her first shot at seeking the subpoenas she warned were coming.
“What I was doing, as a courtesy to people that I respect very much, is simply putting them on notice that when a grand jury convened, which would be in March, that they could expect to receive subpoenas,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said.
At the heart of her investigation is the now infamous call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state” Trump said.
That call is just the starting point for the probe.
“Obviously, it’s been reported around the world that phone call, and so we’ve said, yes, that’s part of the investigation. But we’re not narrowing it to that,” Willis said.
Trump’s recorded call with Raffensperger came after 18 other attempts by the White House to reach the secretary of state’s office, which legal experts say could help establish Trump’s intentions.
“The repeated calls sort of start to tell the story that this was not again, um, official trying to talk to another official about problems that he or she might see in an election. It’s more about how do I get to the place that that I can win the race and what we have to do about it?” said Michael Moore, a former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Willis has already asked a number of Georgia officials to preserve documents, though they are not targets. Some had lawyered up even before her inquiries.
She has said she’s also looking into the abrupt departure of former U.S. Attorney Bjay Pak, Rudy Giuliani’s false allegations of election fraud before Georgia legislators and a call between Trump loyalist Sen. Lindsey Graham and Raffensperger - which the secretary of state viewed as an attempt to toss out ballots.
“I categorically reject that. That wasn’t my intent, and that wasn’t the purpose of the conversation to throw out ballots.” Graham said.
A person familiar with the investigation says the DA’s office is likely to rely on subpoenas over voluntary requests for information to establish a clear court record of their pursuit of evidence.
Willis, the person said, is also unlikely to be deterred by broad claims of privilege the former president has tried to deploy in the past.
She was quick to launch her Trump probe after taking office in January.
“My career has taught me, no matter the political pressure, just do what’s right,” she said.
As for when she’ll decide whether to prosecute the former president, “I’m in no rush,” she tells the Associated Press.
Trump’s team has said there was nothing improper about his call in Georgia.
His former attorney Rudy Giuliani said he was simply pleading the best case for his client, and any possible case against him would be a “travesty” and “vindictive.”
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