By Yenah Lee
ATLANTA, GE – The Fulton County special grand jury that assisted with indicting former President Donald Trump and 18 other individuals for the Georgia 2020 election insurrection released a complete report Friday suggesting 20 more individuals, totaling 39 people, could be charged in the insurrection case. .
Trump and 18 other defendants were charged for attempting “to overturn the will of the voters and undermine the results of the 2020 Georgia presidential election.”
Trump was additionally charged with 12 other criminal counts and Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations.
Individuals are charged RICO violations when they participate in patterns of racketeering activities to carry out objectives of an enterprise or organization. Racketeering activities include bribery, counterfeiting, extortion, etc.
In Georgia, a prosecutor can charge someone with RICO violations when they have engaged in “at least two acts of racketeering activity within a four-year period in furtherance of one or more schemes that have the same or similar intent.”
With the additional charges, the Georgia 2020 election insurrection is considered Trump’s most exhaustive investigation out of four, not including unrelated state charges against him in New York City.
While Trump and the 18 other individuals turned themselves in to an Atlanta jail on August 25, the special grand jury’s Sept. 8 report, now released, recommended South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former Georgia Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and 16 more to be charged alongside the other 19 defendants.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis may have not chosen to charge every individual listed in the special grand jury’s report due to federal protections, immunity agreements, and insufficient evidence to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt, said the New York Times.
Senator Graham was included in the special grand jury’s report because he allegedly made a phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking if Raffensperger had power to reject certain absentee ballots. At the time now-President Joe Biden—the Democratic presidential candidate—was leading the Georgia ballot recount with 14,000 votes.
Former senators Perdue and Loeffler were also included in the special grand jury’s report because of their vocal criticism of Raffensperger. Both senators lost to Democratic candidates in a January 2021 runoff, according to news accounts.
“The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately,” said Senators Loeffler and Perdue in a joint statement on Twitter.
Former National Security Advisor Flynn was listed in the report due to his comments made during his appearance on Newsmax’s “Greg Kelly Reports,” reported the Times.
When asked what kind of options former President Trump had to undo the 2020 presidential election results, Flynn stated Donald Trump could utilize “military capabilities and basically re-run an election” in swing states like Georgia, said Media Matters.
Grand jury foreperson Emily Kohrs described her experience taking part in the panel in her interview with The Associated Press in February with unadulterated fascination with various news outlets.
Kohrs explained to CNN , “This [experience] has been fascinating, to get this peek into the world of, like, politics and…of government.”
While Kohrs spoke earlier this year during her interviews with The Associated Press and CNN about her experience taking part of the grand jury with interesting characterizations of the witnesses, she declined to answer the panel’s suggested indictment list prior to the release of the grand jury’s full report.
Following her interviews, said the Times, Kohrs was criticized by Trump lawyers and supporters for possibly jeopardizing the investigation. However, the judge overseeing the special grand jury explained that the jurors had the ability to discuss anything about the trial except their deliberations, according to news reports.
From May 2022 till Dec. 2022, Kohrs and the other panel members spent seven months hearing testimony from 75 witnesses before submitting a complete report that included their indictment list with recommendations to DA Willis, said the Times.
Requesting a special grand jury is uncommon in Georgia, according to the Times, and, unlike a regular jury, special grand juries are unable to bring indictments. Instead, the panel is able to produce a report with recommendations to aid a district attorney’s investigation with their subpoena power to oblige witnesses to appear in court. Willis said she particularly requested for a special grand jury because of its subpoena power.
The panel’s report included all but one of the 19 ultimately indicted individuals, said the Times, noting Michael Roman, a former White House aide who served as Trump’s Election Day operations director. Roman turned himself in on Aug. 25 due to his involvement in producing fake electors following the 2020 general election.
A partial release of the special grand jury’s report was ordered by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, but the panel’s prosecution recommendation list was not released, according to news accounts.
Judge McBurney stated he wanted to protect the individuals’ due process rights. Only the introduction, conclusion, and concerns from the grand jurors about one or more witnesses possibly lying under oath were released to the public in February.
“Here, however, for anyone named in the special purpose grand jury’s final report who was not afforded the opportunity to appear before the grand jury, none of those due process rights has been satisfied,” wrote Judge McBurney in his order on Feb. 13.
However, after a regular grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others under Georgia’s RICO law, Judge McBurney filed a new order Aug. 28 regarding the due process concerns being debatable.
Of all the indicted individuals, only former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared before the panel.