Special Grand Jury Approved for Georgia Prosecutor Running Trump Election Probe

Judges approved a request Monday for a special grand jury to be seated in the investigation of whether former President Donald Trump and other campaign officials broke state or federal laws trying to influence the behavior of Georgia election officials following the 2020 presidential election.

Last week, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis requested the special grand jury in a letter to the county's superior court Chief Judge Christopher Brasher, citing a "reasonable probability" that the state's 2020 election could likely have been "subject to possible criminal disruptions."

The special grand jury will be seated May 2 for up to a year to hear the case after Willis' request was approved by a majority of the court's judges, according to Brasher's Monday order as reported by the Associated Press.

Willis has not commented on the scope of the investigation, but she confirmed earlier this month to the AP that the widely publicized call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump encouraged him to "find" over 11,000 votes to flip the state in his favor is part of the investigation.

Georgia 2020 Election Fani Willis Donald Trump
A request to convene a special grand jury by the Georgia prosecutor who’s investigating whether Donald Trump and others broke the law by trying to pressure Georgia officials to throw out Joe Biden’s presidential election victory has been approved. Above, Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis photographed in her office on January 4. Ben Gray/Associated Press

The special 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, as set forth in the request of the District Attorney," the order says, according to the AP.

In a statement released last week, Trump said a grand jury should focus on voter fraud and not his "perfect" call with Raffensperger, repeating his assertion that he did not say anything he shouldn't have in the call.

Willis wrote that the special grand jury is necessary because of the longer term it can convene for, as a normal grand jury has a term of two months in Fulton County, the AP reported. She also said it was necessary as the special grand jury would allow her to issue subpoenas, which will be necessary as several witnesses have refused to testify without a subpoena, according to NPR.

The special grand jury will be impaneled to hear the details of this case for up to a year, and at the end of the investigation issue a report that does not contain indictments, but is still valuable to prosecutors.

"What it can do is issue a final report that would effectively be a roadmap as to all of the evidence it reviewed and make recommendations as to which charges, if any, would be appropriate based on that evidence," Gwen Fleming, a former district attorney in Georgia, told NPR.

Willis also confirmed to the AP earlier this month that the investigation includes a November 2020 phone call between Raffensperger and Senator Lindsay Graham, who has also denied any wrongdoing on the call, along with other developments following the election like the sudden resignation of Trump-appointed U.S. attorney Byung J. Pak in January 2021.

Trump has continued to make unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in Georgia and several other states across the country which he lost in the 2020 election.