“Georgia Grand Jury Looms in Trump Inquiry”


As the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot fights to extract testimony and documents from Donald J. Trump’s White House, an Atlanta district attorney is moving toward convening a special grand jury in her criminal investigation of election interference by the former president and his allies, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deliberations.

The prosecutor, Fani Willis of Fulton County, opened her inquiry in February and her office has been consulting with the House committee, whose evidence could be of considerable value to her investigation. But her progress has been slowed in part by the delays in the panel’s fact gathering. By convening a grand jury dedicated solely to the allegations of election tampering, Ms. Willis, a Democrat, would be indicating that her own investigation is ramping up.

Her inquiry is seen by legal experts as potentially perilous for the former president, given the myriad interactions he and his allies had with Georgia officials, most notably Mr. Trump’s January call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, urging him to “find 11,780 votes” — enough to reverse the state’s election result. The Georgia case is one of two active criminal investigations known to touch on the former president and his circle; the other is the examination of his financial dealings by the Manhattan district attorney….

Mr. Raffensperger made his view of Mr. Trump’s election meddling clear in a book released this month, on Election Day: “For the office of the secretary of state to ‘recalculate’ would mean we would somehow have to fudge the numbers. The president was asking me to do something that I knew was wrong, and I was not going to do that,” he wrote.

Of Mr. Trump’s call, Mr. Raffensperger wrote, “I felt then — and still believe today — that this was a threat.”

114-page analysis of potential issues in the case was released last month by the Brookings Institution, with authors including Donald Ayer, a deputy attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration, and Norman Eisen, who was a special counsel to President Barack Obama. The report concluded that Mr. Trump’s postelection conduct in Georgia put him “at substantial risk of possible state charges,” including racketeering, election fraud solicitation, intentional interference with performance of election duties and conspiracy to commit election fraud.


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