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Judge Robert McBurney, of the Georgia 5th Superior Court District Atlanta Circuit, ordered the release of several pages of Grand Jury opinions on Feb. 16. Those opinions pertain to an investigation, led by Democrat Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, into whether Trump or members of his team violated Georgia laws when they challenged the 2020 election results with claims of potential fraud.
The grand jury documents, released on Thursday, revealed the grand jury held “a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election.” The grand jury consisted of 23 individuals and three additional alternates.
The report also said, “a majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before.” The documents do not specify which individuals are suspected of making false statements under oath.
In an interview with Just The News, Dershowitz said the decision to release grand jury findings, absent an actual criminal indictment, is “a terrible, terrible legal process.”
“This hybrid grand jury, which makes pronouncements but not indictments, is a violation of core due process,” Dershowitz said. “It’s what James Comey did when he announced that, well, he wasn’t going to indict Hillary Clinton, but what she did was wrong. You don’t do that. Grand juries either indict or don’t indict.”
Dershowitz also argued that grand jury materials can be especially prejudicial to the accused.
“Remember, they’re one side,” Dershowitz said of grand jury proceedings. “You don’t get both sides presented to the grand jury. You don’t get lawyers for the people who are accused of maybe committing perjury presenting their point of view. So the American public should ignore their conclusions. They’re worthless. A grand jury’s conclusions are not worth the paper they’re written on.”
Grand Jury Report’s Release
The portions of the grand jury report that were released did not specify charges for any specific individuals. The grand jury finding, that one or more witnesses may have committed perjury, did come with a recommendation for the district attorney to pursue indictments for those crimes where compelling evidence permits.
Witnesses accused of perjury could include those favorable to the prosecution, or they could include members of Trump’s team and those favorable to his defense. Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr were among the individuals who testified to the panel.
Willis had previously asked that the court not release portions of the grand jury report because charging decisions are imminent.
“What to do with the report … should come after the district attorney has had an opportunity to state I am not pursuing charges or I am pursuing charges or even I have sought charges, and here’s the indictment,” said Donald Wakeford, a prosecutor in Willis’s office. “At that point, the relative stance, the status of everyone involved, will be much clearer, and we will have a much better roadmap for how to handle secrecy or publication.”
2020 Election Dispute
Trump disputed the 2020 election results from Georgia after the state was called for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump had led Biden on election night, but his lead eroded as ballots continued to be counted for days after the election.
The Trump campaign called Georgia election officials on two separate occasions, questioning the election results and asking the state to look into potential mistakes or fraud. In a December call with an investigator from the Georgia secretary of state’s office, Trump predicted added scrutiny of election results in Fulton County would reveal “dishonesty” in the election results.
In a Jan. 2, 2021 call with the Georgia secretary of state’s office, Trump asked officials to look for instances of fraud. In that call, he asked the officials to find around 12,000 fraudulent ballots to overcome the gap Biden had over him. In those remarks, Trump listed several examples of where he believed fraud had occurred and predicted “you will find you will be at 11,779 within minutes.” Trump said, “I have to find 12,000 votes and I have them times a lot.”
Willis’s investigation has centered on allegations the Trump campaign unduly pressured election officials either through his phone calls or other disruptions.
Trump has maintained that he acted appropriately in questioning the election results and that his calls with Georgia officials were “perfect.”
After the portions of the grand jury report were released on Thursday, Trump shared a post on Truth social.
“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,” he wrote. “The President participated in two perfect phone calls regarding election integrity in Georgia, which he is entitled to do – in fact, as President, it was President Trump’s Constitutional duty to ensure election safety, security, and integrity. “
By Ryan Morgan