The grand jury heard testimony from witnesses Monday evening in the subversive election investigation into Donald Trump.
ATlanTA — A grand jury in Georgia investigating former President Donald Trump over his efforts to reverse the 2020 election results in that state returned at least one indictment on Monday, though not immediately clear against whom.
The documents were presented by the district court clerk around 9 p.m. to the Fulton County judge, who has presided over the investigation for months.
The grand jury heard testimony from witnesses Monday evening in the subversive election investigation into Donald Trump, a long day of testimony punctuated by a brief and mysterious appearance on a county website for listings criminal charges against the former president, which prosecutors subsequently denied.
Fulton County prosecutors presented evidence to the grand jury as they pushed for a likely indictment, summoning numerous former state officials including the former lieutenant governor as witnesses as witnesses. .
But the process hit an unexpected stumbling block midday, when Reuters reported on a document listing criminal charges against Trump, including state fraud, conspiracy to make false statements. truth and inciting a public official to break an oath.
Reuters, which later released a copy of the document, said it was quickly taken down. Fulton County Spokesperson District Prosecutor Fani Willis said the report on the charges filed was “inaccurate,” but declined to comment further on a mess that Trump’s legal team quickly jumped into to attack the integrity of the investigation.
The Fulton County Court Clerk’s Office later issued a statement that appeared to raise more questions, calling the posted material “fictitious,” but did not explain how it appeared on the Internet. court website. The clerk’s office said documents without official case numbers “are not considered official records and should not be treated as such.” But the document that appeared online had some cases on it.
Asked about the “fictional” document on Monday night, the court clerk, Che Alexander, said: “I mean, I don’t know what else to say, like, grace… I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. indictment, that’s right, so I have nothing on the question of whether the site was hacked, she said, “I can’t talk about that.”
Trump and his allies, who have described the investigation as politically motivated, immediately caught the glaring error to claim that the process was rigged. The Trump campaign aimed to raise funds from it, sending an email with the deleted document attached.
“The grand jury testimony isn’t even FINDED yet – but it’s clear the District Attorney has decided how this case will end,” Trump wrote in the email, which included links to documents. support his election campaign. “This is an absolute humiliation.”
Trump’s legal team said it was not a “simple administrative error.” Instead, it is “a symbol of the widespread and clear constitutional violations that have plagued this case from the very beginning,” said attorneys Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg.
It is not clear why this list was posted while grand jurors are still hearing from witnesses in the lengthy investigation into the actions of Trump and others in a narrowly failed attempt to overturn. his star in Georgia ahead of Democrat Joe Biden. It is also unclear whether the grand jurors were aware that the file was posted online. They still need to vote on the charges, so the charges listed in the final post may or may not be against Trump.
Legal experts said it was likely a clerical error when listing the charges that prosecutors are planning to ask a grand jury to vote on. Prosecutors draft indictments and present them to a grand jury, which ultimately decides whether charges should be brought.
“I think this tells us what they’re going to say to the grand jury and what the grand jury might say no,” said Clark Cunningham, a law professor at Georgia State University. He said while the error would give Trump’s legal team grounds for a complaint, “it won’t break the case.”
“Will his lawyers make a fuss about it? Yes, they will. Will Mr. Trump make a fuss about it? Yes, he will. I’m sure there will be. an explanation,” Cunningham said.
One person who said he was called to testify before a grand jury on Monday suggested the process could go faster than anticipated. George Chidi, an independent journalist, previously tweeted that he was asked to testify on Tuesday, but later posted that he was due in court on Monday, adding: “They are acting faster than they are. think.”
Chidi wrote in The Intercept last month that he stormed into “a semi-secret meeting of Republicans posing as Georgia’s official electors in December 2020.” He described being kicked out of the room shortly after entering, saying it was an “educational meeting”.
Former deputy governor Geoff Duncan, who over the weekend said he was also asked to testify on Tuesday, will instead appear before a grand jury on Monday. He told reporters outside the court that the 2020 election was “fair and legal” and said now was “an opportunity to give the real story.”
The document listing criminal charges filed Monday afternoon listed more than a dozen counts, including Georgia Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization, or RICO. Willis has long been tipped to bring that charge against Trump and his associates, accusing them of participating in a wide-ranging conspiracy to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.
Two charges – including inciting a state official to violate an oath – listed the date of the offense as January 2, 2021, which is when Trump in a phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that he wanted to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss in the state. Other charges list the date of the offense as September 17, 2021, the same day Trump sent Raffensperger a message urging him to investigate “massive voter fraud,” annul the election and “publicity.” true winner” if the investigation uncovers fraud.
Former Democratic State Senator Jen Jordan, who was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, said as she left the Fulton County courthouse early Monday morning that she had been questioned for about 40 minutes. Former Democratic Representative Bee Nguyen also confirmed that she testified. News agencies reported that Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the secretary of state’s office, was seen arriving in court early Monday.
“No individual is above the law, and I will continue to cooperate fully with any legal proceeding to seek the truth and defend our democracy,” Nguyen said in a statement.
Nguyen and Jordan both attended legislative hearings in December 2020, during which former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and others made false statements about election fraud rampant in Georgia. Trump’s attorney John Eastman also appeared at at least one of those hearings and said the election had not been held under Georgia law and that lawmakers should appoint a new set of electors.
Sterling and his boss, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – both Republicans – have strongly denied allegations of pervasive problems with the Georgia election.
Trump famously called Raffensperger 2, 2021, and suggested the state’s top election official could help “find” the votes Trump needed to defeat Biden. It was the release of the recording of that phone call that led Willis to open an investigation about a month later.