Fulton County Superior Court Justice Robert McBurney during a hearing Jan. 24 in Atlanta.John Bazemore (AP)
One of the investigations launched into Donald Trump regarding his attempts to reverse Georgia’s 2020 election defeat took a discreet step forward today. A judge this Thursday allowed disclosure of part of the conclusions of a special grand jury’s report, which can be summed up in two points: that there was no fraud in the November 2020 presidential election in Georgia, and that “one or more” of witnesses who testified in the investigation may have committed perjury, that is, lied under oath.
However, the grand jury’s indictment recommendations, which prosecutors must decide on, are being kept secret. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify in the two-year case are people close to Trump, such as Rudoph Giuliani, who was his personal attorney when the tycoon occupied the White House and who allegedly spread various hoaxes to do so to cement theory of fraud. Also, the state’s Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who opposed Trump by refusing to support the strike he intended, and who on Aug. 8. Another witness is then-Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who on Aug January 2, 2021 received a call from Trump himself, which was the catalyst for the case.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, that’s one more than us because we won the state,” Trump told Raffensperger, referring to the 11,779 vote lead Biden won in Georgia. Four days later, a mob of supporters of the still president stormed the Capitol in Washington to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory.
Judge Robert McBurney of the Fulton County, Georgia Superior Court has decided to release three parts of the grand jury’s special report: the introduction, the conclusion, and the part on suspicion that some witnesses in the case may have lied under oath. The telematic release of these fragments does not shed much light on the case, beyond the allegations of perjury, details of which Judge McBurney kept secret so those involved could have a chance to defend themselves.
Trump, a 2024 White House candidate, has other cases open, including investigations by the Justice Department for withholding classified information after he left office and for his role in instigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol for four days after calling the top Georgian official. The tycoon also faces separate investigations into irregularities at his New York businesses, in addition to other secondary investigations into his alleged payment to a porn actress to buy his silence on the relationship they would have maintained, and another remainder who being accused of raping a writer in an event that would have happened decades ago. In November, the Justice Department appointed a special prosecutor, Jack Smith, to oversee cases involving Trump.
The special grand jury set up to investigate the attempted Georgia potluck had no power to prosecute, only recommendations, and the decision on whether to ultimately prosecute rests with Fani Willis, the district attorney. The Special Grand Jury had the prerogative of summoning witnesses, such as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, whose repeated refusal to appear helped delay the trial.
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