Atlanta (AP) — Former President donald trump And while his ally was notified by prosecutors, no warning came from anyone in the Justice Department.
It came from a Georgia prosecutor, indicating she was likely to seek criminal charges within two years. election subversion investigation. of try to prevent liberation Special Grand Jury Report, Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis .
Willis, a Democrat, didn’t name Trump, but her comments made her the first prosecutor in either state. some current research He has alleged ties to the former Republican president and hinted that he could be indicted. The remarks raised hopes that an investigation focused in part on Trump’s phone call with the Georgia secretary of state may end before the ongoing federal investigation.
“You’re going to see an indictment in Fulton County before you see a federal indictment,” said Clark Cunningham, a law professor at Georgia State University.
In addition to the Georgia study, Department of Justice A special counsel is working with allies to investigate Trump’s role in overturning his defeat in the 2020 presidential election and allegations of mishandling classified documents.
Trump appears to face the most immediate legal danger from an investigation into a cache of classified materials at his resort in Florida, and the threat remains. looks complicatedat least politically, by the recent discovery of classified records in the president Joe Biden’s Home in Delaware and office in Washington. The Justice Department has appointed another special counsel to investigate the matter.
Willis began investigating the office shortly after the January 2, 2021 recording was made public. phone Between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In that conversation, the then-President was able to “find” fellow Republican Raffensperger the votes he needed to overturn Trump’s election, which he narrowly lost to Democrat Biden in the state. suggested.
“This is all I want to do. I just want to find 11,780 votes, one more than we have,” Trump said by phone.
Since then, the scope of our research has expanded significantly to include, among others: fake electorcalls by Trump and others to Georgia officials in the weeks after the 2020 election, and widespread unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud against state legislators.
In an interview, Trump claimed he had done “nothing wrong at all” and that his call with Raffensperger was “perfect.” He said he was “very confident” that he would not be prosecuted.
Trump said of Willis, “She was supposed to stop violent crime and that’s her job.” Don’t go after people for political reasons. ”
It is unclear how Willis’ case will affect the Justice Department’s investigation, or what contacts her team has with federal investigators. and offers little insight into when and how the investigation will end.
But Willis’ comments show that the Georgia investigation, with or without charges, is headed for resolution on a timetable unrelated to what the Justice Department is planning, according to a legal expert. said the house.
Cunningham, a professor at Georgia State University, said Willis’ comments implied that the special grand jury report contained details about people the commission and Wills believe should at least be investigated further. He said that
“Unless potential future defendants are named in the report, she would not talk about how the release of the report would create prejudice against potential future defendants. he added.
Prosecutor General Merrick Garland Tap in November jack smithformer Public Service Corruption Prosecutor, acting as Special Counsel overseeing the investigation into Trump’s actions leading to the fatal January 6, 2021 incident, Riot at the Capitol and owned hundreds of classified documents at the Mar-a-Lago Resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Smith and his prosecution team have issued subpoenas to a grand jury, but have not disclosed when his investigation will end or who may be targeted.
Garland declined to discuss the investigation, saying only that “no one is above the law” and that there are no separate rules for Democrats and Republicans.
FBI agents recently searched Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and found six items, including classified documents, according to the White House. found this month At the Indiana home of Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence.
To some extent, public disclosures about the Willis lawsuit anomalous properties of the Georgia lawsuit.
Willis last January tried to summon A special grand jury to assist her investigation cites the need for the power of a subpoena to compel the testimony of witnesses who would otherwise not speak to her. In the letter, she said her office had received information indicating a “reasonable possibility” that the 2020 Georgia election was “potential for criminal interference.”
County Supreme Court Judges allow the requestand the panel is Seated in MayA grand jury heard from 75 witnesses and reviewed evidence gathered by prosecutors and investigators.Witnesses who testified included former New York mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy GiulianiUS Senator Lindsay Graham South Carolina and Georgia Officials raffenperger When Governor Brian Kemp.
panel did not have the authority to prosecute, but its report is presumed to contain recommendations for further action, possibly including possible criminal charges.
the special grand jury Disbanded early this month After finishing the work and completing the report on the investigation. The grand jury recommended that the report be made public.
News outlets, including the Associated Press, insisted on releasing the report.so hearing last weekWillis said the decision on whether to seek prosecution was looming and he opposed the release of the report because he “wanted to ensure that everyone was treated fairly and future defendants were treated fairly.” Therefore, it is not appropriate at this time for the release of this report.”
Lawyers for witnesses and others identified as targets have argued that Willis was driven by politics rather than by legitimate concerns that a crime had been committed. , noted the initial willingness to speak to the print and television news outlets.
Danny Porter, a Republican who served as district attorney in neighboring Gwinnett County for nearly 30 years, said Mr. Willis was treading unfamiliar territory. Special grand juries are relatively rare in Georgia, and the law doesn’t provide much guidance to prosecutors, he said.
Still, Porter said Willis did not appear to have crossed any ethical or legal lines that would call into question the integrity of the investigation.
“Procedurally,” he said.
Tucker reported from Washington. His AP writer Meg Kinnard of Columbia, South Carolina contributed to this report.