Parts of a Georgia grand jury report on former US President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in the state are due to be made public on Thursday, though a judge has ordered that any recommendations on criminal charges be kept secret.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney on Monday said he would permit three portions of the special grand jury's report to be released: the introduction, the conclusion and a section laying out concerns that some witnesses may have lied under oath when testifying.
McBurney said the report includes "a roster of who should (or should not) be indicted." But the judge ruled that any recommendations would stay sealed for now out of concern that the people named have not had an adequate opportunity to defend themselves. That makes it unlikely Thursday's release will indicate whether Trump will eventually face charges.
The Georgia investigation began shortly after Trump in the waning weeks of his presidency in January 2021 called a Georgia state official asking him to "find" just enough votes to declare the Republican incumbent the winner in the state rather than Democrat Joe Biden. Trump, who has launched another run for the White House in 2024, has made false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.
Georgia investigation one of many threatening Trump
The Georgia investigation is one of several threatening Trump, including separate US Justice Department inquiries into his retention of classified materials after leaving office as well as his efforts to invalidate the 2020 election results.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has pursued an investigation for two years into whether Trump or his associates acted illegally when they took steps to try to overturn Biden's Georgia victory. The decision on whether to press charges ultimately rests with her.
The special grand jury had subpoena power, which it used to secure sworn testimony from close Trump allies such as lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham as well as top Georgia officials including Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
It was not empowered to issue indictments, only recommendations. If Willis decides prosecution is warranted, she would need to pursue indictments from a regular grand jury. At a January court hearing on whether to release the report, Willis said charging decisions were "imminent."
Trump has accused Willis of targeting him for political reasons. Willis, a Democrat who was elected in 2020, has used the state's far-reaching organized crime statute in other cases, prompting speculation that she may do so again in the election probe.
Trump on Jan. 2, 2021, called Georgia's top election official, Brad Raffensperger, and repeated his false claims the election results were fraudulent.
"I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state," said Trump, referring to the margin of 11,779 votes by which Biden won.
Four days later, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in a failed bid to stop Congress from certifying Biden's victory.
Willis has also examined a scheme in which a slate of alternate electors falsely claimed Trump had won Georgia in an unsuccessful effort to award the state's electoral votes to him rather than Biden.