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Georgia prosecutor requests special grand jury in Trump probe

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The Georgia prosecutor investigating possible interference in the 2020 presidential election by former President Donald Trump has asked a judge to appoint a special grand jury for her investigation.

In a letter sent Thursday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asked the county's chief judge to impanel the special grand jury because of "information indicating a reasonable probability" that the election "was subject to possible criminal disruptions."

Willis has said in interviews that the investigation includes a January 2, 2021 phone call in which Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, "I just want to find 11,780 votes." Trump lost the state to Joe Biden by that margin, and the outcome was affirmed by several recounts.

Willis previously sent letters in February 2021 to Raffensperger, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and Attorney General Chris Carr advising them of her investigation, and writing that the "matter is of high priority."

She wrote on Thursday, in requesting the special grand jury, that "a significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony." 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis CBS affiliate WGCL

Willis cited an October 2021 interview in which Raffensperger told NBC anchor Chuck Todd, "if she wants to interview me, there's a process for that and I will gladly participate in that because I want to make sure that I follow the law, follow the Constitution. And when you get a grand jury summons, you respond to it."

Raffensperger did not reply for a request for comment. During a Thursday appearance on Fox News he said that his office has cooperated already and "if we're compelled to come before a grand jury, obviously, we will follow the law and come before a grand jury and testify."

He also accused Willis of "slow walking" the case. "I think she's just trying to score some cheap political points with her Democrat friends," he told Fox.

Trump also issued a statement Thursday, saying, "My phone call to the Secretary of State of Georgia was perfect," and repeating his unfounded claims of "massive" voter fraud.

A special grand jury is unique in that it focuses on just one investigation, and can be impaneled for a longer time than typical grand juries. Willis wrote that the special grand jury will have "an investigatory focus appropriate to the complexity of the facts and circumstances involved."

She noted that it will not have the power to indict, but will be able to recommend criminal prosecutions "as it shall see fit."

In her February 2021 letter to state officials, Willis wrote that she was looking into "solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration."

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