Fulton County DA to present case against Trump to grand jury next week

The former president of the United States, Donald Trump, may face criminal charges in Georgia for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. According to multiple news reports, the Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, is likely to present her case against Trump to a regular grand jury next week.

Fulton County DA

The investigation into Trump’s election interference

Willis opened her investigation in early 2021, following the release of a phone call that Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, pressuring him to “find 11,780 votes” to reverse his loss in the state. Willis has been investigating whether Trump and his allies violated Georgia’s laws on election fraud, racketeering, conspiracy, and solicitation of election tampering.

Willis convened a special grand jury that worked over seven months and interviewed 75 witnesses in their probe into the 2020 election. That grand jury recommended charges in the case, but had no power to issue indictments. Georgia law is unusual in that special purpose grand juries – which have broad investigative powers – are not permitted to issue indictments.

The witnesses and the evidence

Willis has subpoenaed several witnesses to appear before the regular grand jury next week. They include former Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, former Georgia Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan, and independent journalist George Chidi. All of them previously testified before the special purpose grand jury and have received 48-hour notices to appear this week.

The witnesses that have been summoned to testify speak to various prongs of Willis’ investigation, from conspiracy-laden presentations that Trump’s associates – including former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani – made before Georgia lawmakers in 2020, to the convening of fake electors to try to thwart President Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Willis can also rely on her internal investigators to present evidence that was previously collected by the special purpose grand jury. She can use the recorded phone call between Trump and Raffensperger as well as other communications and documents that show how Trump and his supporters tried to influence Georgia officials and manipulate the election outcome.

The potential charges and the consequences

If Willis proceeds with racketeering charges, she could cast Trump and several of his associates as operating as a criminal enterprise in their endeavors to upend Georgia’s election results. Racketeering is a serious felony that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 per count.

Willis could also seek other charges such as criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, which is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 per count. Additionally, Willis could charge Trump and his allies with conspiracy to commit election fraud or tampering with ballots or ballot boxes, which are both misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 per count.

Trump has repeatedly slammed the Georgia probe, calling it a “witch hunt,” and also attacked Willis, who has been subject to racist threats over her work in the investigation. Trump has also tried to stop Willis’ investigation in court, but his efforts have failed. A Fulton County Superior Court judge ruled that he had no legal standing to do so, and the Georgia Supreme Court rejected another attempt to halt the probe.

Security measures have already been stepped up outside the Fulton County courthouse in anticipation of indictment announcements. Police officers surrounded the building and barriers have also been set up. Willis has said that she is ready to go and that she expects to make charging decisions by the end of this month.

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