WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Feb. 16, a Georgia special grand jury investigating efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election released three parts of its report with its findings. In Georgia, a special grand jury is composed of jurors who assemble for an unlimited amount of time to investigate potential violations of state law. Importantly, special grand juries can also issue subpoenas. While special grand juries do not issue indictments, they do provide the district attorney with recommended actions, which the attorney can then decide whether or not to pursue.
In May 2022, at the request of the Fulton County district attorney, a special grand jury was impaneled (meaning selected) and “authorized to investigate any and all facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to alleged violations of the laws of the State of Georgia” as it pertained to efforts to overturn the 2020 election. This investigation largely stems from a phone call that took place on Jan. 2, 2021, in which Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R): “So look. 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.” Proceedings for the special grand jury are private, but according to reporting, the investigation may have looked into Trump allies’ broader efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including Georgia Republicans presenting themselves as the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors and other actions pushing a narrative of election fraud.
Today, three portions of the special grand jury’s final report — the introduction, conclusion and a section discussing potential false statements made under oath — were made public as a result of a Feb. 13 order issued by the state court judge overseeing the special grand jury. The introduction of the report outlines that the special grand jury “heard extensive testimony on the subject of alleged election fraud from poll workers, investigators, technical experts, and State of Georgia employees and officials, as well as from persons still claiming that such fraud took place.” We learned that a majority of the special grand jury believed that one or more of the 75 witnesses who testified before it may have committed perjury by lying under oath and “recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.” The special grand jury also concluded “by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election.”
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.