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

The full report was released Friday. It recommended indictments against 39 people, including several national politicians

ATLANTA — A Fulton County Special Purpose Grand Jury that initially investigated interference in Georgia's 2020 election recommended indictments against 39 people, including former President Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, and former Georgia U.S Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

The recommendations were included in a 28-page document released Friday. Portions of the report were released earlier this year, but much of the document remained sealed as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' investigation played out. The report's suggestions were much broader than the sprawling RICO indictment returned against Trump and 18 co-defendants last month

Graham, Perdue and Loeffler were among those in the special grand jury's report who were ultimately not indicted. The jury also recommended indictments against attorney Lin Wood, former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, attorney Cleta Mitchell, Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, and current Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones. None of them were charged in the 2020 election case.

The special grand jury recommended charges against 21 people who were not indicted. Michael Roman, a Pennsylvania GOP figure who served as director of Election Day operations for Trump’s 2020 campaign, is the only person who was indicted and did not appear in Friday's report.

In Georgia, special purpose grand juries do not have the power to indict. Instead, Willis used the evidence collected by the group to guide her probe. The panel recommended their report be published after its work was complete.

The jury recommended that Graham, Perdue and Loeffer be indicted for their alleged roles in the national effort to overturn the 2020 election. The report doesn't specify which of their actions constituted a violation of Georgia law, but the three Republicans allegedly attempted to assist Trump after Election Night.

Graham made at least two phone calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger about absentee ballots and voter fraud. The two men disagreed about what exactly happened and what was said during the conversation. 

Court filings seeking Graham's testimony before the special purpose grand jury outlined the allegations.

On Nov. 13, 2020, Graham allegedly asked Raffensperger and his staff about "reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome" for Trump. Graham also made "allegations of widespread voter fraud," according to the filing.

In testimony to the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Raffensperger testified that he was "uncomfortable" with Graham's line of questioning.

Graham mentioned a process credit card companies use to verify signatures, suggesting that a similar machine reading process be used on 150,000 absentee ballots from Fulton County, according to Raffensperger's released testimony.

"I didn't know where this was going to lead," Raffensperger said. "My concern was, would you be disenfranchising voters when the ballots have already been accepted by the county process?"

Raffensperger told Graham he'd talk with attorneys at the Secretary of State's Office, but he never spoke with the senator about it again.

In an interview with Greensville, South Carolina, NBC affiliate WYFF on Friday, Graham said that as chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, he had to determine if a hearing was required over claims of voter fraud. He didn't find evidence of "mass voter fraud" but said that he did have concerns about the mail-in ballot system in several states, including Georgia.

"I'm very worried about the county right now," Graham said. "We can't criminalize senators doing their job when they have a constitutional requirement to fulfill. ...At the end of the day, nothing happened. What I did was consistent with my job as a United States senator."

Jurors also recommended that Perdue be indicted for his "persistent, repeated communications" directed toward Georgia officials and employees between November 2020 and January 2021. Both Perdue and Loeffler called for Raffensperger to resign, accusing Georgia's top election official of “mismanagement and (a) lack of transparency.”

Perdue, who lost reelection in a 2021 runoff, also met with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, urging him to call a special session of the state legislature to allegedly aid in Trump's efforts to overturn the results. Loeffler attended the meeting. 

Loeffler was Georgia's only sitting U.S. Senator on Jan. 6, 2021, when the Electoral College certified the election results. Loeffler planned to object to Joe Biden’s victory before a pro-Trump crowd stormed the U.S. Capitol and interrupted the certification.

In the early hours of Jan. 7, Loeffler delivered a speech that expressed concern regarding the 2020 election process but called for the country to move forward.

“Though the fate of this vote is clear, the future of the American people’s faith and the core institution of this democracy remains uncertain,” she said. “We, as a body, must turn our focus to protecting the integrity of our elections and restoring every American’s faith that their voice and their vote matters. America’s a divided country with serious differences, but it is still the greatest country on earth. There can be no disagreement that upholding democracy is the only path to preserving our republic.”

One of the jurors who voted against indicting Perdue and Loeffler said in a footnote of the report that their actions "while pandering to their political bases" did not "give rise to their being guilty of a criminal conspiracy."

In a statement, Loeffler said speaking out in "defense of election integrity" is not election interference.

"I make no apologies for serving my state by giving voices to millions of Americans who felt disenfranchised in 2020 — and I refused to be intimidated by a two-tiered system of justice that seeks to systematically destroy conservatives across this country," a portion of her statement reads.

An attempt to contact Perdue was not returned Friday afternoon.

The special jury report recommended indictments for 13 of the 16 Republican presidential electors — Trump supporters who met at the Georgia State Capitol and signed Electoral College documents falsely claiming that Trump won the election. Three electors who did not appear in the special jury report were: James "Ken" Carroll, David G. Hanna and Daryl Moody.

Jones, one of the electors who appears in the report, was not indicted after a Fulton County judge ruled that Willis couldn't prosecute him. The decision came after she hosted a fundraiser for Jones' Democratic opponent ahead of the 2022 lieutenant governor's race. Jones is unindicted co-conspirator 8 in the RICO indictment, based on evidence referenced in the document.

Only three of the Trump electors — former Georgia GOP chair David Shafer, former Coffee County GOP chair Cathleen Latham and Georgia Sen. Shawn Stll — face charges. At least half of the electors reached immunity deals with Fulton County prosecutors, according to court documents.

The special purpose grand jury met for roughly eight months, completing its work in January 2023. It heard from 75 witnesses during the investigation.

Trump and his 18 codefendants pleaded not guilty in the 2020 election case and waived arraignments that were set for earlier this week. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee scheduled trials for Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, attorneys who assisted the former president, for Oct. 23. Fulton prosecutors want to try all 19 defendants together on that date, but McAfee expressed concerns over that possibility.

Prosecutors estimate the trial would take roughly four months. That estimate doesn't account for jury selection or possible defendant testimony. The state said it planned to call 150 witnesses.

"It just seems a bit unrealistic to think that we can handle all 19 in 40-something days. That's my initial reaction." McAfee said during a court hearing earlier this week. "Are we even delaying the inevitable? If we say there's no severance, aren't we going to have 17 defense attorneys get up here and file motions for a continuance just saying they aren't ready?"

RELATED: Will 19 Trump defendants be tried together? Fulton judge is skeptical

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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