Georgia prosecutors launch a criminal investigation into Trump's election pressure campaign
- Georgia prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation into Trump’s election pressure campaign.
- For months, he pleaded with GOP state officials to invalidate President Joe Biden’s statewide win.
- The investigation was opened in Fulton County, an overwhelmingly Democratic jurisdiction.
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Prosecutors in Georgia’s most populous county have launched a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s monthslong pressure campaign to invalidate the results of the presidential race in the state, which notably included Trump making a phone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” more votes, The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Wednesday.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, sent a letter to a range of state officials asking them to retain sensitive materials that are related to Trump’s phone call, according to the report.
An official who chose to remain anonymous told The Times the letter indicated that the request was centered around a criminal investigation. The Georgia investigation will be based in a heavily Democratic jurisdiction that was overwhelmingly won by President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
This decision comes after Raffensperger announced that his office would launch an administrative inquiry into Trump’s January 2 phone call.
Former prosecutors indicated that Trump’s calls may have violated three Georgia laws — which could result in criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and a similar conspiracy charge, both of which could be tried as felonies or misdemeanors in court. The former president could also face a misdemeanor for infringing on the “performance of election duties” of another individual, The Times reported.
Willis was mulling over a decision to launch an investigation after the roughly hourlong phone conversation during which Trump implored Raffensperger to “find” the nearly 12,000 votes that would be needed to overcome Biden’s statewide tally, per The Times.
Last December, Trump also pleaded with GOP Gov. Brian Kemp to call a special session in an attempt to overturn the election results by having the GOP-controlled legislature install pro-Trump presidential electors. Kemp balked at the request, which caused Trump to attack him in the press and on social media for weeks.
The Georgia Republican Party has been embroiled in turmoil for months.
Last November, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992, a huge blow for the party, and was followed by the January 2021 Senate runoff victories of Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff over then-GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively.
Trump also faces a criminal investigation in New York, where Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is looking into possible financial crimes.
Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James launched a separate civil fraud investigation into Trump and his businesses, which is ongoing.
This story has been updated.
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