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Judges OK Grand Jury in GA Vote Probe  01/25 06:19

   Judges have approved a request for a special grand jury by the Georgia 
prosecutor who's investigating whether former President Donald Trump and others 
broke the law by trying to pressure Georgia officials to throw out Joe Biden's 
presidential election victory.

   ATLANTA (AP) -- Judges have approved a request for a special grand jury by 
the Georgia prosecutor who's investigating whether former President Donald 
Trump and others broke the law by trying to pressure Georgia officials to throw 
out Joe Biden's presidential election victory.

   Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis last week sent a letter to 
county superior court Chief Judge Christopher Brasher asking him to impanel a 
special grand jury. Brasher issued an order Monday saying the request was 
considered and approved by a majority of the superior court judges.

   The special grand jury is to be seated May 2 for a period of up to a year, 
Brasher's order says. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney is 
assigned to supervise and assist the special grand jury.

   Willis wrote in her letter to Brasher that her office "has received 
information indicating a reasonable probability that the State of Georgia's 
administration of elections in 2020, including the State's election of the 
President of the United States, was subject to possible criminal disruptions." 
She said her office has "opened an investigation into any coordinated attempts 
to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections in this state."

   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.

   Willis has declined to speak about the specifics of her investigation, but 
in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month she confirmed that 
its scope includes -- but is not limited to -- a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call 
between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a November 
2020 phone call between U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Raffensperger, the abrupt 
resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2021, and comments made 
during December 2020 Georgia legislative committee hearings on the election.

   In a statement last week, Trump called his call to Raffensperger "perfect" 
and said he did not say anything wrong. Graham has also denied any wrongdoing.

   Special grand juries, which are not used often in Georgia, can help in the 
investigation of complex matters. They do not have the power to return an 
indictment but can make recommendations to prosecutors on criminal prosecutions.

   Willis wrote in her letter that the special grand jury is needed because it 
can serve for longer than a normal grand jury term, which is two months in 
Fulton County. It also would be able to focus on this investigation alone, 
allowing it to focus on the complex facts and circumstances. And having a 
special grand jury would mean the regular seated grand jury would not have to 
deal with this investigation in addition to their regular duties, Willis wrote.

   Willis' investigation became public last February when she sent letters to 
top elected officials in Georgia instructing them to preserve any records 
related to the general election, particularly any evidence of attempts to 
influence election officials. The probe includes "potential violations of 
Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false 
statements to state and local government bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, 
violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related 
to the election's administration," the letters said.

 
 
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