An investigative panel in Georgia has said one or more witnesses may have lied in their testimony in a probe into former United States President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the US state.
In parts of a report on its investigation released on Thursday, the special grand jury did not identify the witnesses accused of lying under oath, but recommended that a Georgia district attorney file charges for crimes “where the evidence is compelling”.
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The panel also said it found no evidence that “widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election”.
The grand jury interviewed dozens of witnesses, including Trump aides, as part of its probe into the former president’s false claims that widespread fraud led to his loss to President Joe Biden in November 2020.
Trump, who is seeking the White House again in 2024, was not subpoenaed and did not testify before the Georgia panel.
The panel’s final report, much of which is still not public, could serve as the basis for the potential prosecution of Trump and his associates.
The parts released on Thursday under a judge’s order did not give any indication as to whether the grand jury thinks Georgia’s prosecutors should target Trump.
“The Grand Jury was impaneled to investigate a specific issue: the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 presidential elections in the State of Georgia,” the report read.
In the US legal system, a grand jury is typically made up of randomly selected citizens who are tasked with examining the validity of potential charges against defendants.
But the panel in Georgia – made up of 26 residents of Fulton County, which includes the city of Atlanta – was a special grand jury; it could only recommend charges after conducting an investigation in which it could compel witnesses to testify.
The decision to prosecute suspects is up to District Attorney Fani Willis.
Trump, a Republican, has denied wrongdoing and accused Willis, an elected Democrat, of targeting him for political reasons. He has also regularly reiterated the false claim that the 2020 election was “stolen”.
“The long awaited important sections of the Georgia report, which do not even mention President Trump’s name, have nothing to do with the president because President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong,” Trump said in a statement posted on his Truth Social platform on Thursday.
Willis launched her investigation shortly after Trump urged Georgia’s top election official during a call in January 2021 to “find” enough votes to deliver him a victory in the state.
Days later, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s win.
“So look, all I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state,” Trump told state officials in the 2021 call that later leaked to the media.
A congressional panel that investigated the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack over the past two years has recommended criminal charges against Trump, citing his efforts to overturn the 2020 elections, including in Georgia.
The Department of Justice is also investigating Trump for his possible role in the Capitol riot.
If charged in Georgia, Trump would become the first former president to face criminal prosecution.