Raffensperger testifies before grand jury in Trump election probe

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger testified Thursday before a Fulton County special grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.

Trump spent an hour in a recorded phone conversation on Jan. 2 of last year pressuring fellow Republican Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the Georgia results. Democrat Joe Biden had carried Georgia the previous November by 11,779 votes.

Raffensperger refused to go along with Trump in the exchange, which the secretary described in a subsequent book “Integrity Counts.”

Fulton District Attorney Fanni Willis’ office has been investigating the phone call and other aspects of the then-president’s efforts to reverse Biden’s victory in Georgia for months. However, the special grand jury was impaneled just last month to subpoena witnesses and begin hearing evidence.

Along with Raffensperger, the grand jury also has subpoenaed two of his top deputies, General Counsel Ryan Germany and Elections Systems Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling, to testify next week along with three former secretary of state’s office staff members.

The panel also has subpoenaed a series of documents including audits, hand counts or other evidence that Biden won the presidential election in Georgia; a forensic audit of the Dominion Voting Systems machines the state used during the 2020 election; and transcripts from a state Senate hearing held on Dec. 3, 2020, on claims of election fraud featuring former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr also has reportedly been called to testify later this month.

Raffensperger’s refusal to cooperate with Trump landed the secretary on Trump’s enemies list.

Trump recruited U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, to challenge Raffensperger in last week’s Republican primary. Raffensperger turned the tables on the former president by winning the primary by a large enough margin to avoid a runoff.

Trump also tried to get back at Carr by endorsing John Gordon, a political unknown, to take on the attorney general on the same GOP primary ballot. Carr won that race by an even larger margin than Raffensperger’s victory.

After hearing from the witnesses and gathering other evidence, the special grand jury will decide whether Trump or others should face prosecution. If so, it would be up to a regular Fulton County grand jury whether to indict the former president.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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