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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Georgia grand jury listens to Trump’s incriminating phone call

The phone call to Georgia officials shows Trump asking them to find nonexistent votes to overturn the legal results in that state.
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Georgia House Speaker David Ralston.
(Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A special grand jury that investigated whether Donald Trump and his allies illegally meddled in the 2020 election in Georgia heard a recording of the former president pushing a top state lawmaker to call a special session to overturn his loss in the state, according to a newspaper report.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that it spoke to five members of the special grand jury who said they heard a recording of a phone call between Trump and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston that had not previously been reported and has not been made public. Ralston, who died in November, did not call a special session in the weeks after the November 2020 election.

The five grand jurors — three men and two women — spoke to the newspaper but declined to be named because they were concerned about their safety and privacy.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the Georgia investigation in early 2021, shortly after another recording of a phone call between Trump and a top state official was made public. During that Jan. 2, 2021, phone call, Trump suggested that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to reverse his narrow loss in the state.

“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said during the call. “Because we won the state.”

In a separate recording made public in early 2021, Trump can be heard talking to the lead investigator in Raffensperger’s office in December 2020, pressing her to look into Fulton County, saying she would “find things that are gonna be unbelievable.” Trump also told her, “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.”

The special grand jury, which was seated in May, heard from about 75 witnesses and considered other evidence before wrapping up its work in December. It did not have the authority to issue indictments but instead produced a report with recommendations for Willis.

The foreperson of the special grand jury said in news interviews last month that the panel recommended that numerous people be indicted, but she declined to say who. It is ultimately up to Willis to decide whether to go to a regular grand jury to seek one or more indictments in the case. She said during a hearing in January that decisions in the case are “imminent.”


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