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Tags: donald trump | georgia | special grand jury | 2020

Trump Claims 'Total Exoneration' After Georgia Grand Jury Report


By    |   Thursday, 16 February 2023 04:57 PM EST

The partial release of Georgia's Special Purpose Grand Jury Final Report on Thursday was hailed as a "total exoneration" by former President Donald Trump.

"Thank you to the Special Grand Jury in the Great State of Georgia for your Patriotism & Courage," Trump wrote on Truth Social on Thursday afternoon.

"Total exoneration. The USA is very proud of you!!!"

That statement followed another post by Trump that referenced a statement NBC News attributed to Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung.

"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's first Truth Social post read. "The president participated in two perfect phone calls regarding election integrity in Georgia, which he is entitled to do — in fact, as president, it was President Trump's constitutional duty to ensure election safety, security, and integrity."

That post echoed a statement posted to his campaign website, which added more to the post.

"Between the two calls, there were many officials and attorneys on the line, including the Secretary of State of Georgia, and no one objected, even slightly protested, or hung up," Trump's statement continued, referencing a 2020 call from Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. "President Trump will always keep fighting for true and honest elections in America!"

Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor leading the criminal investigation into Trump's attempts to investigate 2020 election fraud, is also weighing whether witnesses to the grand jury probe lied under oath.

That was one of the revelations from five pages of the special grand jury's report on Trump made public Thursday in keeping with a judge's order, which could open new criminal targets for Willis, who has been described as a "pit bull in the courtroom."

Willis, a Democrat, has taken an aggressive approach in the Trump investigation, subpoenaing some of his allies including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, while waging court battles to compel their testimony.

Trump did not testify and has not been charged with a crime.

Trump, who in November announced another run for the presidency in 2024, has denied wrongdoing and has called Willis a "radical left prosecutor."

At the heart of the investigation is Trump's January 2021 call to Raffensperger asking him to "find" just enough votes that might be used as outcome determinative in the key battleground state. Willis also has examined a scheme to appoint an alternate slate of electors in a bid to award Georgia's electoral votes to Trump, rather than Biden, ahead of congressional certification of the election results.

To assist with the Trump investigation, Willis retained private Atlanta lawyer John Floyd, who wrote a guide on prosecuting state racketeering charges. The move led to speculation she is building a case against Trump or his associates around Georgia's anti-organized crime law.

Trump has accused her of targeting him for political gain and criticized her handling of violent crime in Atlanta, Georgia's largest city and part of Fulton County.

Willis told a judge Jan. 24 that a decision on whether to bring criminal charges was "imminent" after a special grand jury completed its work. Five pages of the grand jury's report were publicly released Thursday, though any recommendations on criminal charges will remain sealed for now. It is possible no charges will arise from the investigation.

"She's a pit bull in the courtroom," said Vincent Velazquez, a former Atlanta homicide detective who worked with Willis during her time as an assistant district attorney. "You give her an inch, she's going to take a foot."

Georgia's racketeering law is more far-reaching than its federal counterpart, enabling charges against "corrupt organizations" if the prosecution can show they engaged in a pattern of criminal activity including two or more separate offenses.

Some defense attorneys have voiced concern Willis has strayed beyond the law's intended use and targeted speech protected by the U.S. Constitution.

"There is an overuse and abuse of the statute," said Jay Abt, a Georgia criminal defense lawyer who represents witnesses in the election investigation.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The partial release of Georgia's Special Purpose Grand Jury Final Report on Thursday was hailed as a "total exoneration" by former President Donald Trump.
donald trump, georgia, special grand jury, 2020
Thursday, 16 February 2023 04:57 PM
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