The Atlanta grand jury that first probed Donald Trump’s coordinated effort to stay in power after losing the 2020 election didn’t rubber stamp every possible charge against the former president, who fared better than almost all other defendants in terms of how the panel voted.
(Bloomberg) — The Atlanta grand jury that first probed Donald Trump’s coordinated effort to stay in power after losing the 2020 election didn’t rubber stamp every possible charge against the former president, who fared better than almost all other defendants in terms of how the panel voted.
The special grand jury, whose report was made public Friday, helped Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis investigate the alleged scheme but didn’t have power to indict. It recommended that 39 people be charged, only 18 of whom were indicted on Aug. 14 by a regular grand jury.
The breakdown on how the special grand jury voted on each charge for each individual provides a clue about the perceived strength of the evidence it uncovered and why Willis opted not to pursue charges against everyone named.
The special grand jury took eight votes on Trump and recommended charges 91% of the time. The remaining 9% was made up by jurors who voted against charging the former president or abstained. While the percentage is clearly high, it’s still lower than all but one other individual who was named in the report and also indicted — fake presidential elector Shawn Still. The special grand jurors voted to recommend charges against him 67% of the time.
On each of the votes involving Trump, one juror voted against indicting the former president and as many as three abstained.
Members of the special grand jury, which took more than 100 votes, voted in favor of indicting 86.6% of the time and against charges 10.5% of the time. The other 2.9% were abstentions.
The individuals who were named in the report but who were ultimately not indicted fared better than Trump in terms of how the special grand jury voted on charges. The jurors gave US Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, the most sympathetic hearing, with 13 members voting to recommend charges, seven voting no and one abstaining.
The data also show how the special grand jury viewed each of the schemes that were part of the alleged conspiracy. The panel was least forgiving of alleged efforts to intimidate Fulton County poll worker Ruby Freeman, voting in favor bringing related charges 98% of the time.
At the other end of the spectrum, panel members were much less enthusiastic about charges related to efforts to select fake presidential electors for Trump, voting in favor of such charges 68% of the time.
All 19 defendants in the Georgia prosecution have pleaded not guilty.
Trump claims the case is part of a coordinated “witch hunt” to undermine his bid to return to the White House in 2024.
On his social media site Truth Social Friday Trump wrote: “Essentially, they wanted to indict anybody who happened to be breathing at the time,” adding the grand jury has “ZERO credibility.”
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