Georgia grand jury heard tape of Trump’s conversation with House speaker – report
An Atlanta grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election meddling has heard a taped phone call he had with the Georgia House Republican leader to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the decisive state, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.
It was not previously reported whether such a recording existed or whether it was played during the eight-month trial by a special 23-member grand jury.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston told local media in December 2020 that Trump called him to convene a special session of the state legislature to determine the outcome of the presidential election in Georgia.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which said it heard a recording of the Trump-Ralston conversation, had the paper’s own exclusive interviews with five jurors who said they heard it.
Quoting one of the panel members interviewed, Ralston “basically shut the president up” without making any specific promises, telling Trump, “I’ll do whatever I think is appropriate.”
“He took the wind out of the boat,” Jury said in the press release, noting that Trump later thanked Ralston, which at the time was “all the president could say.”
Ralston and other state legislators never called a special session, and the speaker of the Georgia House himself testified before a Fulton County special grand jury in July 2022, according to local media. Ralston died four months later in November.
Unlike the evidence and testimony examined in open court by trial juries in the United States, the proceedings of grand juries, which are involved in the trial of criminal charges by indictment, are generally closed to the public.
The George Elections grand jury is known to have investigated a previously publicized conversation Trump had with Georgia’s then-Secretary of State, Brad Raffensberger, on January 2, 2021, falsely claiming the November election results were fraudulent.
In a recording of that conversation, which is generally available to the public, Trump asked Raffensberger to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state.”
The Wall Street Journal published a transcript of another phone call Trump had with then-Raffensberger chief investigator Francis Watson, who was auditing about 15,000 votes. It cost him the election.
The Journal-Constitution said the five jurors it interviewed — three men and two women — spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their safety and privacy and declined to discuss parts of the final report.
The report, submitted to the Fulton County district attorney in January before the jury was impaneled, contained the jury’s recommendation for an indictment.
In an earlier interview with the Journal-Constitution, the jury’s presiding judge, Emily Kors, said, “It’s not a short list,” when asked how many people the jury recommended charging criminal charges.
The special grand jury, unlike a regular grand jury, does not have the power to bring charges, only make recommendations, and it is up to District Attorney Fannie Willis to decide whether to prosecute.
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