Georgia grand jury suspects perjury in probe of Trump election interference

Jury members say no widespread fraud occurred in 2020 election, while possible indictments remain sealed

Former US president Donald Trump in November last year. Reuters
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A grand jury in Georgia said some witnesses lied under oath during an investigation into former president Donald Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 presidential electoral defeat in the state, a final report has shown.

Excerpts of the report, released on Thursday, also concluded that there was no widespread fraud in the election, despite Mr Trump's claims, and delivered recommendations on indictments to prosecutors.

Those recommendations will remain sealed for now, pursuant to a judge's order.

Mr Trump did not testify before the grand jury.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said the report included “a roster of who should (or should not) be indicted”.

But the judge ruled those details would stay secret for now out of concern that people named have not had an adequate opportunity to defend themselves.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened an investigation shortly after Mr Trump in January 2021 called a Georgia state official asking him to “find” enough votes to declare the Republican incumbent the winner in the state rather than Democrat Joe Biden.

Mr Trump, who has launched another run for the White House in 2024, has made debunked claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.

He has denied wrongdoing and accused Ms Willis of going after him for political reasons.

The Georgia investigation is one of several threatening Mr Trump, including separate Justice Department inquiries into his retention of classified materials after leaving office as well as his efforts to invalidate the 2020 election results.

The special grand jury had subpoena power, which it used to secure sworn evidence from close Trump allies such as lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, as well as top Georgia officials including Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Ms Willis can decide if prosecution is warranted and choose to pursue indictments from a regular grand jury.

At a January court hearing on whether to release the report, Ms Willis said charging decisions were “imminent”.

Mr Trump called Georgia's top election official, Brad Raffensperger, on January 2, 2021, and claimed falsely that the election results were fraudulent. A recording of the call was leaked.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state,” said Mr Trump, referring to the margin of 11,779 votes by which Mr Biden won.

Four days later, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in a failed bid to stop Congress from certifying Mr Biden's victory.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: February 16, 2023, 9:12 PM