Georgia DA considers seeking Trump testimony in 2020 probe

Eric Tucker and Kate Brumback
Associated Press

Washington – The Georgia prosecutor investigating potential criminal interference in the 2020 presidential election is considering requesting that former President Donald Trump testify under oath to a grand jury, while several people already subpoenaed as part of the probe have received letters informing them that they’re at risk of being indicted.

The developments underscore the accelerating nature of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation and the key decisions that may lie ahead for prosecutors who for more than a year have been scrutinizing efforts by Trump and his allies to undo his election loss in Georgia.

Jeff DiSantis, a spokesman for Willis, told The Associated Press that Willis is considering subpoenaing Trump to testify before a special grand jury. Such a demand would almost certainly trigger an immediate court fight, including potentially over Trump’s constitutional protections against self-incrimination. Yahoo had reported earlier Friday that Willis is considering requesting Trump’s testimony.

Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis in her office on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

Meanwhile, some people who had been subpoenaed have subsequently received so-called target letters, according to a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. Prosecutors generally issue such letters to inform people they’ve been investigating that they have developed evidence against them and that they’re in jeopardy of being criminally charged.

The person who confirmed the issuance of the target letters, which were first reported by Yahoo, would not identify any of the recipients.

The special grand jury was seated in May at Willis’ request and has been investigating whether Trump and others illegally tried to meddle in the 2020 election in Georgia as the Republican desperately tried to cling to power after his loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump continues to insist that the election was stolen, despite the fact that numerous federal and local officials, a long list of courts, top former campaign staffers and even his own attorney general have all said there is no evidence of the fraud he alleges.

Willis has confirmed that the investigation’s scope includes a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that call, Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn his loss in the state.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said during that call. “Because we won the state.”

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly described his call to Raffensperger as “perfect.”

Willis, a Democrat, has also said that her team is looking into a November 2020 call that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., made to Raffensperger and false claims of election fraud that were made by former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and others during December 2020 legislative committee hearings at the state Capitol.

Graham and Giuliani are among the Trump associates Willis is trying to force to go to Atlanta to testify before the special grand jury.

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Brumback reported from Atlanta.