Judge may make grand jury report public in Trump Georgia case After an months-long investigation into efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results by Donald Trump and his allies, a grand jury's report could be made public — or not.

A Georgia judge weighs release of a grand jury report into 2020 election interference

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A special grand jury has finished investigating the failed efforts by former President Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election in the state of Georgia. Now a judge holds a hearing today to decide what parts of the report to make public, if any. Georgia Public Broadcasting Stephen Fowler has been covering this story all along and is back with us once again. Good morning.

STEPHEN FOWLER, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: What was the purpose of this grand jury? It wasn't specifically to indict people, right?

FOWLER: Well, so go back to early 2021 where Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis announced she was looking into potential crimes after the failed attempt to overturn Georgia's presidential results...

INSKEEP: Right.

FOWLER: ...Things like soliciting election fraud, giving false statements to governmental bodies, even racketeering. So last year, she requested backup from a special purpose grand jury that could do things like subpoena documents, seek testimony from witnesses and recommend what charges to file. That's brought in everyone from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to Georgia's governor and secretary of state to a litany of lawyers that work for Trump's campaign.

INSKEEP: OK. You said recommend charges. So they're not doing the indictments. They're just trying to find out what happened here. What did they focus on?

FOWLER: Well, they focused on two main areas - efforts to reverse the results and claim Trump won and then efforts to send slates of fake electors to have Congress say Trump won. On the former, we know there's a lot of interest in Trump's call urging the secretary of state to, quote, "find votes" for him and a pair of unofficial legislative hearings where Rudy Giuliani and others told state lawmakers how they could change the results using dubious claims of fraud. We also know, Steve, that the 16 Republicans that claim to be Georgia's presidential electors when they really weren't are considered potential targets of the election probe. And this special purpose grand jury is interested in who organized them and why.

INSKEEP: So what determines how much of their findings we get to learn?

FOWLER: Well, this is where the special in special purpose grand jury comes in. The special purpose grand jury gets more time to focus on just one issue, as opposed to a typical grand jury that has multiple cases they've got to look at. But here's the thing - they can't actually issue indictments if they find wrongdoing. That's up to the district attorney. But think of this report as kind of a road map spelling out who could be charged with what and any areas to investigate further. Basically, they can get it all the way up to that line without actually saying this person should be indicted.

Now, Georgia state law says these reports should be made public if the jury wants them to, which they did. But the judge has some questions about other parts of state law that prevents these types of reports from naming names and potential crimes, unless it's part of an indictment, which this special grand jury can't issue. So today's report, we're going to have the DA's office, media outlets who want the full report published and potentially targets who might be named in this report to make their case in this hearing, meaning resolution could take a while.

INSKEEP: There's one name in particular people will be looking to be named - Donald Trump.

FOWLER: Well, it's hard to say if he's actually going to be named there or not. There were plenty of witnesses, including plenty of Trump allies, who fought having to testify. But interestingly, Trump was never actually asked to appear before the panel. He has retained local attorneys in Georgia, though, who say they won't be participating today, mainly because they'd never been part of this process. Their stance - they assume the grand jury found Trump didn't break any laws. That said, Fani Willis, the district attorney, could still issue an indictment against Trump based on mountains of public comments and other testimony gathered.

INSKEEP: Stephen, thanks so much for your reporting. Always appreciate it.

FOWLER: Thank you.

INSKEEP: That's Georgia Public Broadcasting's political reporter, Stephen Fowler.

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