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Why weren't some people recommended for indictment in Georgia actually indicted?

Here is a bit of an overview of the process as it works in Georgia.
Credit: AP
FILE - Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference about refusing Russian annexation of any portion of Ukraine, Sept. 29, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Graham must testify before a special grand jury investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia, a federal appeals court said Thursday, Oct. 20. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

ATLANTA — The release of the report compiled by a special purpose grand jury that investigated obstruction in the post-2020 election process in Georgia showed that there were nearly 40 people for whom indictments were recommended.

Ultimately, though, when Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis brought an actual indictment to a regular grand jury, just 19 were charged.

The natural question: What happened? What kept people such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Sen. David Perdue and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler - who were recommended for indictment by the special purpose grand jury - from actually being indicted?

RELATED: Georgia special grand jury recommended indictments against Trump, Lindsey Graham, David Perdue and more

Much of it comes down to speculation, but here's what we can say for certain.

Why some people recommended for indictment in the special purpose grand jury weren't actually indicted

It has to do with how special purpose grand juries work in Georgia.

Basically, they're investigative bodies. They hear evidence and ultimately issue a report with their findings.

In this case, the special purpose grand jury felt like nearly 40 people warranted indictment, but they don't have the power to make that call.

RELATED: What's the difference between a regular grand jury and a special purpose grand jury in Georgia?

Instead, DA Willis brought an indictment with 19 people on it to a regular grand jury - which does have the power to vote for, or decline, the indictment and authorize charges. 

Why Willis decided on the 19 who made it into the indictment could come down to a number of things - maybe she felt certain charges wouldn't fit into the RICO framework for some people, or believed the recommendation of the special purpose grand jury wouldn't quite hold up before a regular grand jury voting on indictment.

Whatever it was, the basic reason Lindsey Graham and others were recommended for indictment in Georgia, but not indicted, is that one legal body - the special purpose grand jury - can't actually vote for indictment, while another - the regular grand jury - can.

Special purpose grand jury's full report below


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