The Georgia grand jury expected to consider indictments against former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies for trying to nullify the 2020 election will be selected Tuesday in Atlanta.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, an elected Democrat, launched the investigation in early 2021, after Trump tried to reverse his loss in the Peach State with a public and private pressure campaign. targeting Georgia election officials, the governor, lawmakers and prosecutors.
A special grand jury previously heard testimony from 75 witnesses, including Trump’s advisers, his former lawyers, White House aides, and Georgia officials. That panel issued a redacted report with charging recommendations, which will soon be weighed by a new grand jury. Willis indicated that final decisions could come next month.
Throughout the investigation, Trump has vehemently denied wrongdoing, as have his allies who have also been investigated. The former president criticized Willis, who is Black, calling him a “racist” and a “lunatic Marxist.”
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:
The new grand jury term begins Tuesday in Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta and some suburbs.
Two panels will be selected in the downtown Atlanta courthouse, and each panel will have 26 participants: 23 grand jurors and three alternates. One of these panels is expected to oversee the Trump investigation.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney will preside over Tuesday’s court proceedings. He oversees the special grand jury that is collecting evidence in the Trump investigation, and he is also expected to oversee the grand jury tasked with making charging decisions in the case.
The pool of potential grand jurors will be screened for scheduling conflicts and service difficulties. Cameras are allowed in the courtroom, although it is unclear how many of the proceedings will be public.
President Joe Biden won about 73% of the vote in 2020 in Fulton County. It is a racially diverse county, where nearly half the population is Black.
All signs point to final billing decisions coming in August.
Willis announced remote work days for staff in August and asked judges to reduce in-person hearings, likely due to security concerns. He previously informed the local police that possible charges will be announced between July 11 and September 1.
To get an indictment in Trump’s investigation, 16 of the 23 voting members of the grand jury must be present. Once that quorum is established, 12 votes are needed to pass an indictment.
The Fulton County sheriff’s office is taking the possibility of high-profile indictments very seriously. They sent teams to New York and Miami to study security protocols for Trump’s two previous arraignments this year.
Earlier, Willis said he was investigating “attempts to influence the administration in the 2020 Georgia General Election.” His question has continued to expand over the years, and now covers many areas.
Willis said his team is considering several potential crimes.
These include soliciting election fraud, making false statements to state and local government bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violating an oath of office, and engaging in election-related threats.
CNN reported in March that prosecutors were looking at racketeering and conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors have notified some key players that they are targets of the investigation. It includes former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and 16 GOP activists who served as “fake voters,” including the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. As the investigation picked up steam last year, many fraudulent voters decided to cooperate with prosecutors.
Hear what’s in the grand jury report released by a Georgia judge about Trump and the 2020 election
After Trump lost the election in Georgia, he launched a multi-pronged effort to overturn the results. This includes a pressure campaign targeting top state officials who oversee the election, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans. Trump wants them to abuse their powers to “find” enough votes to flip the results, or to prevent Biden’s victory from being certified. They refused.
When these efforts failed, Trump urged Georgia state lawmakers to call a special session to overturn Biden’s victory. Trump’s allies, including Giuliani, have presented bogus claims of voter fraud in the state House and Senate. Trump’s campaign, along with outside lawyers supporting their cause, filed frivolous lawsuits that unsuccessfully tried to overturn Biden’s victory.
At the same time, Trump tried to weaponize the Justice Department to help him meddle in the Georgia election. He tried to cajole top Justice Department officials and federal prosecutors in Atlanta into falsely claiming that the election was “corrupt” and that Biden’s victory was tainted by massive fraud.
The Trump campaign also recruited a group of GOP activists in Georgia to serve as fake voters, part of a seven-state plot to undermine the Electoral College process. These fake voters played a key role in Trump’s evil plan to block the election from being certified on January 6, 2021.
There are also efforts by Trump supporters to hack a voting system in Georgia, in hopes of proving that the election was rigged and somehow keeping Trump in office. Some Trump supporters also allegedly tried to pressure a Fulton County election worker into falsely claiming there was major fraud in 2020.