A Georgia-based special grand jury that initially investigated efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election recommended the indictments of more than three dozen people, including 21 who weren’t charged last month.
A report summarizing that special purpose grand jury’s investigation was released Friday after Judge Robert McBurney, who presided over the panel, ordered last week that it be made public.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; former Sens. David Perdue, R-Ga., and Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga.; and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn were among those whom the panel recommended for indictment but were not ultimately charged. Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn was also on the list recommended for indictment.
NBC News reached out for comment to Graham, Loeffler and Perdue. Epshteyn declined to comment, as did a lawyer for Cleta Mitchell, a conservative activist whom the panel recommended for indictment.
Mitchell participated in the infamous phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.
Willis had investigated a pair of phone calls Graham made to Raffensperger and his staff after the general election. Raffensperger said Graham suggested that the secretary of state had the authority to reject certain absentee cast ballots. Graham denied that he made that suggestion and only said that he was trying to understand the state’s process for verifying ballot signatures.
Graham denied he asked Raffensperger to throw out votes when asked about it by NBC News in November of 2020.
“No, that’s ridiculous. I talked to him about how you verify signatures,” he said.
When asked why a senator from South Carolina called the secretary of state from Georgia, Graham said, “Because the future of the country hangs in the balance.”
The special grand jury also recommended charging 11 alleged fake electors in Georgia, including Mark Amick, Joseph Brannan, Burt Jones, Brad Carver, Vikki Consiglio, John Downey, Carolyn Fisher, Mark Hennessy and C.B. Yadav. Others recommended for indictment include Lin Wood, a Georgia attorney who promoted conspiracy theories of election fraud and labeled then-Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor” who should be executed; and then-Georgia state Sen. William T. Ligon Jr., who chaired a hearing in which Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and other Trump attorneys presented allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Instead of issuing indictments like a regular grand jury, the special purpose grand jury submits its findings to the district attorney, who then decides whether to present evidence to a grand jury for criminal charges.
Last month, a separate grand jury that heard the evidence in the case charged Trump and 18 others with felony racketeering and numerous conspiracy counts.
One person who wasn’t recommended for indictment by the special grand jury but ultimately was one of the 19 charged is Mike Roman, who worked for Trump’s 2020 campaign.
The special grand jury was convened last year as part of Willis’s investigation because it had the power to issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify. The panel was dissolved earlier this year and portions of its report were made public in February, which said it had “received evidence from or involving 75 witnesses during the course of this investigation, the overwhelming majority of which information was delivered in person under oath.”
Those unsealed parts of the report revealed that grand jurors said they believed some witnesses might have lied under oath. The jury foreperson said in an interview in February that the panel had recommended indicting more than a dozen people.
Trump, for his part, has tried to quash the special grand jury report, arguing that all of the evidence should be deemed unconstitutional.
The regular grand jury’s 41-count indictment last month charged Trump and 18 others with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization, or RICO, Act. Willis accused the defendants of participating in efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia and unlawfully name Trump the winner of the election.
Trump and the other defendants have pleaded not guilty.
On Thursday, Trump notified the state judge presiding over the case that he might try to move it to federal court. Willis has said she wants to put all 19 defendants, including the former president, on trial next month. So far, former Trump lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell are expected to stand trial starting Oct. 23 because they requested speedy trials.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the trial, said this week that he was “very skeptical” that Willis could try all 19 defendants in October. Nathan Wade, who was represented the district attorney’s office at the hearing, told the judge that a trial for all defendants would take about four months and that prosecutors expect 150 witnesses to testify.