Georgia grand jury report on Trump election probe says ‘one or more witnesses’ may have committed perjury

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FEBRUARY 16, 2023

A special grand jury report on whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies tried to unlawfully interfere in the 2020 election results in Georgia says the grand jurors believe some witnesses may have lied under oath.

“A majority of the grand jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” a section of the report released Thursday said. “The grand jury recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”

The newly unsealed portions of the report also reveal new information about the scale of the investigation, but do not shed light on who the grand jury believes should be charged and for what, besides perjury.

The report says the grand jury “received evidence from or involving 75 witnesses during the course of this investigation, the overwhelming majority of which information was delivered in person under oath.”

It also says the panel “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 who still claim such fraud took place. We find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place.”

In an addendum to the report that was also released, the jury foreperson and deputy foreperson noted the panel “voted to recommend that the Special Purpose Grand Jury Final Report be published,” but “did not recommend a manner or time for such publication.”

A coalition of media outlets argued the entire report should be released now, but Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office argued it should remain under wraps for the time being.

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said in a ruling this week he would unseal portions of the report that would not include the grand jury’s recommendations on specific potential indictments because of due process concerns.

After the release, a spokesperson for Trump hailed the omission of the former president’s name in the unsealed sections of the report.

“The long awaited important sections of the Georgia report, which do not even mention President Trump’s name, have nothing to do with the President because President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said.

Trump went further a short time later in a post on his social media platform Truth Social, where he thanked the grand jury and prematurely claimed the partial report was a “total exoneration.”

McBurney ruled Monday that three parts of the grand jury’s final report should be made public: the introduction, the conclusion and a section in which jurors expressed concern that some witnesses may have lied under oath.

The judge said “the compelling public interest in these proceedings and the unquestionable value and importance of transparency require their release.”

McBurney revealed the special purpose grand jury had completed its work in a separate ruling last month officially dissolving the panel.

The panel was convened last year as part of Willis’ investigation into whether there were any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections” in the state by Trump and his allies.

The grand jury was tasked with looking into “‘the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 elections in the State of Georgia’ and to prepare a report on whether anyone should be prosecuted for such potential crimes,” McBurney recounted in his ruling last month.

The special purpose grand jury is different from a typical grand jury in that, rather than issuing indictments, it submits its findings to the district attorney, who will then make the decision whether to present evidence to a grand jury for criminal charges.

In his ruling Monday, McBurney said the panel had “provided the District Attorney with exactly what she requested: a roster of who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what, in relation to the conduct (and aftermath) of the 2020 general election.”

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, said Thursday of the grand jury’s work: “No one is above the law. No one. And our citizens have to have every faith that justice is blind.”

Willis called for the grand jury last year because it has the power to issue subpoenas to force witnesses to testify. The panel heard from dozens of witnesses, court filings show. Among those who were questioned about their alleged involvement in efforts to overturn results in the state were Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and 16 people who served as “alternate electors“ in the state.

Asked Thursday about the grand jury’s perjury concerns, Graham told reporters, “I’m confident I testified openly and honestly.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Republicans who’d been pressured by Trump and his allies to alter the outcome of the 2020 election, also testified.

Among the incidents Willis is looking at is Trump’s Jan. 2, 2021, phone call with Raffensperger, in which he urged the state’s top election official to overturn Joe Biden’s win. “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,” Trump said in the call.

Trump has called that phone call “perfect,” and decried Willis’ investigation as a “witch hunt.”

In a post last month on Truth Social, Trump said the “call to the Secretary of State challenged Election Integrity, or lack there of, which is my Right/Duty.”

McBurney noted that the grand jury “certified that it voted to recommend that its report be published.”