A special grand jury was selected Monday to hear evidence in a Georgia prosecutor’s probe into efforts by former President Trump and others to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. Trump lost Georgia by roughly 12,000 votes of five million cast, the first Republican presidential candidate to lose the state since 1992. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, opened an investigation in early 2021 into efforts to influence the election results, the Wall Street Journal reports. Trump’s efforts to reverse that outcome included calls to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who oversees elections, and the lead investigator for his office. Fulton County Judge Robert McBurney spoke to jurors Monday in Atlanta.
Trump has called the investigation a political witch hunt. “What this Civil Special Grand Jury should be looking into is not my perfect phone call, but the large-scale voter fraud that took place in Georgia,” he said in January. Willis wrote to the Fulton County Superior Court asking for a special grand jury. She said the investigation was being hindered because potential witnesses weren’t cooperating. A grand jury, with subpoena power, could force witnesses to testify. The prosecutor’s request to impanel such a grand jury had to be approved by a majority of judges on the county’s superior court, who are elected in nonpartisan races. The jurors were sought for a “special purpose” grand jury, which wouldn’t have the authority to return an indictment but could make recommendations on criminal prosecution. The special grand jury can sit for up to a year.