A Fulton County grand jury heard a previously unreported recording of former President Donald Trump pressuring a top Georgia Republican to help overturn his election loss in the state, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The special grand jury investigated Trump's efforts to overturn his election in the state after District Attorney Fani Willis launched a probe into the former president's infamous phone call pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to reverse his loss. But five grand jurors who spoke with AJC revealed that investigators also have an audio recording of Trump pressuring then-Georgia House Speaker David Ralston to push for a special session to reverse President Joe Biden's win.
Ralston proved to be an "amazing politician" on the call, a juror told AJC.
The speaker "basically cut the president off. He said, 'I will do everything in my power that I think is appropriate.' … He just basically took the wind out of the sails," the juror said. "'Well, thank you,' you know, is all the president could say."
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti called the report "jaw-dropping."
The call "sounds incendiary," tweeted former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman. "How big does Willis want to go in her charges?"
The special grand jury wrapped up its work and its foreperson publicly revealed that the panel recommended indictments for more than a dozen people in the case, though it's unclear if Trump was one of them. The ultimate decision on whether to bring charges will fall on Willis.
Ralston, who died last year, revealed Trump's call in December 2020 a day after it happened.
Trump "would like a special session of the Georgia General Assembly. He's been clear on that before and he was clear on that in the phone conversation yesterday. You know I shared with him my belief that based on the understanding I have of Georgia law that it was going to be very much an uphill battle," Ralston told a local news outlet. Ralston explained that there were not enough votes in the state legislature to call a special session and Gov. Brian Kemp declined to call for one despite Trump's pressure.
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Ralston during the same interview also referred to then-Trump legal adviser John Eastman's Jan. 6 strategy to try to block the certification of Biden's victory in Congress.
"That's something I think we want to tread very, very carefully around because that could be used against us someday," Ralston said. "As is this call for a special session."
The AJC report revealed numerous details about the special grand jury probe, including how one juror was driven to tears after hearing from witnesses whose lives had been "upended by disinformation and claims of election fraud."
Jurors said that the most compelling witnesses included former poll workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, who went into hiding after receiving death threats when they were targeted by Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani, and former Dominion executive Eric Coomer, who left the voting machine company after being targeted with conspiracy theories. Raffensperger's wife Tricia, a juror said, broke down while describing the threats and vitriol she had received.
"I was pretty emotional throughout the whole thing," a juror said. "I wouldn't cry in front of any of the witnesses, but when I would get in my car, I was like, I just left that and I have to just go do my job now?…. I just know things that are hard to know."
Another juror recalled testimony from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
"He said that during that time, if somebody had told Trump that aliens came down and stole Trump ballots, that Trump would've believed it," the juror said.
Some jurors said the proceedings gave them a new outlook on the election system.
"I can honestly give a damn of whoever goes to jail, you know, like personally," one juror said. "I care more about there being more respect in the system for the work that people do to make sure elections are free and fair."
The judge overseeing the case released a redacted version of the special grand jury's report earlier this year but the full report is not expected to be released until Willis makes charging decisions.
"A lot's gonna come out sooner or later," one of the jurors told AJC. "And it's gonna be massive. It's gonna be massive."
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