Where the Trump Investigations Stand: Georgia

For something else entirely, I started writing what I thought was going to be a short summary of where the three major investigations into Trump stand. But those summaries ended up getting long, so I’m going to publish them serially, starting with Fani Willis’ Georgia investigation.

This post relies on the work of others following the investigation far more closely, especially Lawfare’s Anna Bower and GPB’s Stephen Fowler. But the following two posts, on the stolen documents investigation and Jack Smith’s January 6 investigation, will build off this.

In a bid to keep the Special Grand Jury’s recommendations secret in January, Fani Willis said the charging decisions were “imminent.” Since then, however, the regular Fulton County grand juries that would have to charge Trump and others have been churning out indictments for more ordinary crimes. According to Andrew Fleischman, there are 18,000 pending felony cases in Fulton County, many of them being held pre-indictment. Like some of the delays in the January 6 investigation, this backlog stems in part from COVID restrictions.

But it wasn’t just that backlog that has delayed charges against Trump. In March, Willis asked Christina Bobb for an interview (who refused). It may be that, after reading Bobb’s January 6 Committee testimony (transcripts of which were only released after the Fulton Special Grand Jury expired), Willis discovered that, while Bobb claimed to have been uninvolved in the crimes in Georgia, she testified that she and, “at least two dozen others,”  over at least two rooms, sat in on Trump’s call to Brad Raffensperger, and “we all thought … it was totally fine.” On top of discovering that there were up to 24 witnesses who might be willing to misrepresent the call at trial, this may have caught Rudy Giuliani in a lie. After it became public, Rudy amended his interrogatories in Ruby Freeman’s lawsuit to reflect some involvement in the call as well. Someone recently claimed to me that Willis’ case is “open and shut.” But it’s not “open and shut” if there were 24 unknown witnesses involved.

More famously, according to a letter seeking to disqualify an attorney representing most of the fake electors, Willis has been spending recent weeks interviewing fake electors and telling them, allegedly for the first time, that they could get immunity deals if they testified against other Republicans. Friday, one of the fake electors who also accessed voting machine data on January 7, joined Trump’s effort to undercut Willis’ authority, represented by a new attorney. All of which suggests that Willis is spending time not just making charging decisions, but making sure she can win the case.

On Monday, Willis informed the Fulton County Sheriff that she will be announcing charges in the investigation during the summer grand jury session that goes from July 11 to September 1, and requested he prepare for increased security accordingly. She wouldn’t ask for such measures if she hadn’t decided to charge the kind of people who incite riots. So there’s a very good chance she will charge Trump and his flunkies, and we have a pretty good idea when it will happen.

Links

Where the Trump Investigations Stand: Georgia

Where the Trump Investigations Stand: Stolen Documents

Where the Trump Investigations Stand: The January 6 Conspiracies

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28 replies
  1. BROUX says:

    Is the complete list of people on the phone call known now by Fani Willis? If not, is there a legal mechanism forcing all these people to come forward?

    • j.lintecume says:

      The special grand jury was the mechanism that could’ve gotten those people because they have the authority to subpoena. Criminal grand juries in this state can’t because of arcane Jim Crowe laws. The only thing she has now if flipping someone.

      • timbozone says:

        The legal “mechanism” in this case would be having a possible obstruction of justice investigation of one or more grand jury witnesses. See Rudy’s amended statement as a quick scramble to avoid becoming a target of such a charge? Funny how public awareness of how large a group of conspirators may be involved might encourage some witnesses/witness counselors to quickly get amendments into the official record.

    • Joberly1954 says:

      @Broux—Contrary to Christina Bobb’s testimony, Giuliani says don’t count him among the two dozen listening to the Jan 2nd Trump-Raffensperger call. Wonder if he similarly denied his listening on the call when he testified before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury? From Giuliani’s sworn testimony before the House Jan 6 Committee, May 22, 2022, pp. 235-236, with some buffoonery at the end):

      House Jan 6 questioner: “Do you remember — were you on that call?”
      Giuliani: “That the President had with Raffensperger?”
      Q “Yes.”
      Giuliani: “No, sir.”
      Q: “Okay.”
      Giuliani: “I don’t recall my talking to Raffensperger. I don’t think I talked to Kemp either, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t talk to either one of them.”
      Q “Was anyone from your team on that call? Was Christina Bobb on the call with Raffensperger and the President?”
      Giuliani: “I have no knowledge of that.”
      Mr. Costello. “it’s now 7:15. We’ve been doing this for 7 hours and 40 minutes, not including the time that we took off from 2:30 to 4:15.”
      Giuliani: “He’s complaining. I’m not the one complaining. If I could have a cigar, I’d be fine. I feel like we should have a break for a cigar commercial.”

  2. Doug R says:

    I heard a deeper implication is that the Georgia shenanigans were aimed at overturning the Senate elections as well.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes, neither here nor in the Jan6 conspiracy do I deal with the investigations into the election machine data. Plus there’s likely some financial shenanigans tied to it as well.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Those details have cropped up in the Fox/Dominion aftermath. Trump himself did not care at all about the senate elections, both decided in the immediate 24 hours preceding J6. At the time I was focused entirely on Ossoff and Warnock, and had no idea the riot was going on until about 3 p.m. Now that strands of new reporting have surfaced the senate races too, I hope more comes up.

  3. Bay State Librul says:

    I am glad we have a timeline of roughly 75-100 days.
    A lot of maneuvering can happen in the interim, but from a State perspective, Fanni is doing her job.

    • bmaz says:

      Fani Willis remains the most self promoting and unprofessional DA I have ever seen in my life. And that includes the one I personally encountered that was later disbarred for his antics as DA.

        • bmaz says:

          No, I just think Willis is absolute shit as a DA. And I think emotional fanboys like you do a disservice to the criminal justice system by cheering her nonsense.

          By the way BSL, do “you” know Willis personally?

          • emptywheel says:

            We all know that you don’t like Fani Willis irrespective of the investigation here. You won’t shut up about it.

            But this is the state with the clearest fact-set of clear crimes. Generally you’re not a fan of the Feds big-footing local investigations. Perhaps your personalizing of a clearly predicated investigation does a disservice to the criminal justice system?

            • smf88011 says:

              You hit the nail on the head. I think Bmaz is a little bent out of shape because they think Willis is showboating, unprofessional, etc in his mind, he also knows she has the goods on Trump and Company. It is just a matter of time before Trump and Company goes down for the crimes they obviously have committed.

              • emptywheel says:

                I don’t know what she has. I know a bunch of private citizens spent months of their lives investigating this, and over the course of it, several other clearly suspect events came up (as also happened in MI). I also know that it will be useful to have a state and a federal investigation in parallel on some of these things to prevent Trump from entirely dodging some of these things.

              • Troutwaxer says:

                I don’t like bmaz’s online style much, but if I were a defense attorney with his experience, the combination of the DA “has the goods on Trump” and the DA’s “a showboating unprofessional”* would definitely make me twitch – twitch rather horribly, in fact.

                From my layman’s perspective I didn’t get the “showboating unprofessional” until she made her recent announcement. I’m not sure what she has to gain from this? Does she think this is a good way to put the pressure on suspects who might flip? Is she trying to out Georgia politicians who might be vulnerable to obstruction charges? Why didn’t she just have a quiet word with the various law-enforcement agencies? I just don’t see the strategic/tactical reasons for this, (and I’d be glad if someone can enlighten me.)

                • emptywheel says:

                  I dunno. If I read a filing that said, “the fake electors are flipping” and the next week read a filing saying, “oops, need more time for them to flip,” it might encourage others to join the fun?

                  And while Willis and Smith can legally communicate, I’m not sure they are, in which case this could be as much for Smith as anyone else.

                • Marc in Denver says:

                  I will hope that I can afford your services, and that you won’t be conflicted out.

                • timbozone says:

                  My conscious’s agony of guilt-ridden suffering over trying to alter votes in Georgia would feel some relief? Seriously, this isn’t just about Trump but Georgia election integrity too. Is that supposed to only be up to the Federal government to police? Shouldn’t Georgia’s own officials also be investigating plots to disenfranchise Georgia voters?

      • Jonathan Ames Fuller says:

        DA’s from the time of Capone have worked hard to get famous. This is nothing new. And Ms Willis has been taking her sweet time, amidst Trump levels of appeals from multiple parties. And giving quite few interviews (although the head of the Grand Jury was something.) I don’t get your beef.

  4. Bay State Librul says:

    Bmaz@12:09PM

    To answer your question, I do not know Fanni personally.
    My only connection to Fulton County is that I lived in Atlanta for three years.
    All I know is that if the situation had occurred in Massachusetts, I would be pissed, since someone was messing around with my vote and the election results.
    Thanks,
    Jack

    • Sloth Sloman says:

      It’s not worth the effort to try and explain yourself to someone operating in bad faith. They will just find another way to twist your words to chew you out again with the same short, empty comment they’ve made 100+ times in every post mentioning the GA investigation.

  5. Joberly1954 says:

    The Jan 2nd phone call was the 18th time Trump tried to get Raffensperger to pick up the phone. Cleta Mitchell told the House Jan 6 Committee that the White House switchboard initiated the Jan 2nd call and then patched her in from her North Carolina location [Mitchell deposition, p. 127]. I wonder if the two dozen Trump listeners were told to stand by and be ready to listen during the previous 17 attempts to get the GA secretary of state to talk with Trump, or even if the cast of listeners was the same for each call attempt? The same question about the Trump listeners with the White House switchboard’s attempts to get Clint Hickman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on the phone, Dec 31st and Jan 3rd?

    • emptywheel says:

      Very good question.

      Willis should be able to get the records of what other outside lines were included on the 2nd. But likely not what went down at the WH. But Smith might be able to get that.

  6. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    Clearly, the Fani Willis’ letter giving a timeline to law enforcement was NOT intended for them, as that could have been done privately. Two possibilities:
    1. Signal to a dozen or so targets that this is the time to flip and deal.
    2. Signal to Jack Smith to proceed.

    Federal wire fraud is a predicate crime for a Georgia state RICO charge. Perhaps other fed charges could also be a predicate. Fani wants Jack to go first.

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