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“Special Grand Jury Recommended Charges Against Senator Graham and Two Former Senators in Georgia Election Case”

September 8, 2023

A recently unveiled report from a special grand jury, investigating attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results, has expanded the scope of recommended indictments. The nine-page report, released on Friday, reveals that the jury recommended charges against 39 individuals, a larger group than the 18 initially charged, including one current and two former U.S. senators.

The list of those not indicted comprises prominent figures such as Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia, and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although some portions of the report were previously disclosed in February, specific charges against individuals were withheld until after last month’s indictments. This revelation shed light on the special grand jury’s intention to recommend charges against several people who ultimately escaped indictment.

A spokesperson for former President Donald Trump, who is a front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, criticized the report as “biased” and “un-American.”

As of Friday, Graham, Loeffler, Perdue, and Michael Flynn’s lawyer had not provided immediate comments regarding the report’s findings.

The report included a section highlighting “the national effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost to Joe Biden, a Democrat.” In this context, it mentioned Lindsey Graham’s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger shortly after the November 2020 election.

Both Perdue and Loeffler, who were sitting U.S. senators at the time, failed to secure enough votes in the November 2020 general election and entered a January 2021 runoff, which they eventually lost to Democratic challengers. In the weeks following the election, they vocally criticized Raffensperger and called for his resignation.

Michael Flynn, in a mid-December 2020 interview on a right-wing cable news channel, suggested that Trump could employ military capabilities to rerun elections in swing states. Flynn also visited conservative lawyer Lin Wood’s South Carolina home in November 2020, where discussions about influencing election results in Georgia and elsewhere allegedly took place.

The special grand jury dedicated seven months to hearing from approximately 75 witnesses before delivering its report in December, offering recommendations to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for charges related to election overturn attempts. Willis had indicated the need for the panel’s subpoena power to compel witness testimony.

Notably, the release of individuals recommended for indictment represents a departure from standard grand jury protocol, which typically conceals the identities of those investigated but not charged to protect potentially innocent subjects from unwarranted harm.

Special grand juries in Georgia serve as investigative tools and do not possess the authority to issue indictments. Instead, they produce reports with non-binding recommendations, requiring district attorneys to seek regular grand jury indictments for charging decisions.

The special grand jury report, based on testimony and evidence from the second half of the previous year, clarifies that the panel consisted of “no election law experts or criminal lawyers.” Nevertheless, the grand jurors diligently attended sessions, listened to witnesses, and attempted to comprehend both facts and laws presented.

Of the 19 individuals eventually indicted, only one was not included in the special grand jury’s recommendations. Michael Roman, a former White House aide who directed Trump’s election day operations, was implicated in efforts to promote fake electors after the 2020 election.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who previously ordered the partial report release in February, subsequently declined to immediately unveil the panel’s indictment recommendations to safeguard due process rights. However, in a new order filed on August 28, Judge McBurney determined that due process concerns had become irrelevant, as Trump and 18 others had been indicted by a regular grand jury under the state’s anti-racketeering law. All individuals indicted have pleaded not guilty.

Many of those indicted, including former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, had testified before the special grand jury. Notably, Trump himself was not summoned and did not appear before the panel.

Credit: AP

 

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