Georgia prosecutor investigating Trump's alleged election misdeeds requests special grand jury

Trump didn't seem happy about the news Thursday

Published January 20, 2022 6:38PM (EST)

Donald Trump (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

A local District Attorney probing former President Donald trump's pressure campaign on Georgia officials to overturn the state's 2020 election results is requesting a special grand jury to aid in the investigation, reports said. 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, whose jurisdiction includes the capital city of Atlanta, said the decision was necessary due to the "significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony," according to a letter to the county's chief judge cited by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Willis' office has dedicated significant resources to the investigation, which is reportedly focusing in particular on Trump's interactions with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who at one point was asked to "find" enough votes to overturn the former president's loss in the state.

Raffensperger wrote in a book published last year that he understood the conversation as a "threat" — one that put him in danger due to the potential actions of Trump's more "radical followers."

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"I felt then — and still believe today — that this was a threat," Raffensperger wrote. "Others obviously thought so, too, because some of Trump's more radical followers have responded as if it was their duty to carry out this threat."

But in her letter, Willis noted Raffensperger's unwillingness to cooperate with her investigation — including a quote from last year in which he said, "if (Willis) wants to interview me, there's a process for that."

The special grand jury in question cannot by itself make indictment decisions, but it can subpoena witnesses and compel them to produce documents, making it a useful tool as Willis continues her investigation into the former president's actions. 

It will be in session for up to two months and includes at least 16 members, AJC reported. 

RELATED: Why a Georgia investigation into Trump's alleged misdeeds may be in trouble

Trump didn't seem happy about the news Thursday — issuing a statement calling his interactions with Raffensperger a "perfect phone call."

"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," Trump said in a statement.

Raffensperger, in an interview with Fox News, also claimed he had been fully cooperative with the investigation and diverged from his previous statements on the matter, saying nothing untoward had taken place.

"I think she's just trying to score some cheap political points with her Democrat friends," he said.

RELATED: Palm Beach officials prepare extradition plans ahead of possible Trump indictment: report

Trump is also facing a number of other investigations — including one examining his family business' financial dealings led by the Manhattan District Attorney's office and another civil fraud case overseen by the New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Willis is also reportedly sharing information with the House select committee investigating the attempted Jan. 6 insurrection, which in recent weeks has focused its attention on Republican leaders' communications with Trump before, during and after the riot. 

By Brett Bachman

Brett Bachman was the Nights/Weekend Editor at Salon.

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