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2020 election

Georgia grand jury probing Trump’s election subversion returns indictment

Georgia grand jury probing Trump’s election subversion returns indictment
The Fulton County Courthouse and Justice Center at dusk ahead of a possible grand jury indictment against former US President Donald Trump for 2020 election interference in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 14 August 2023. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis could announce criminal charges against former President Trump and others sometime in August 2023. EPA-EFE/ERIK S. LESSER

Aug 14 (Reuters) - The grand jury in Georgia investigating Donald Trump's attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss handed up a criminal indictment on Monday, though it was unclear whether the charges involved the former president.

Officials with the Fulton County Court handed the indictment to Judge Robert McBurney, but did not make them public.

Media accounts showed images of a cover sheet saying the grand jury had returned 10 indictments, but did not say who was indicted or what charges were filed.

The case, brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, could add to the legal woes facing Trump, the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election.

Fulton County court clerk Che Alexander told reporters it could take her office up to three hours to process the indictments after they were accepted by the judge.

The court briefly posted a document on its website earlier on Monday listing several felony charges against Trump, but quickly removed it without explanation. Willis’s office said at the time no charges had been filed and declined further comment.

Over the course of a two-year investigation, Willis has examined Trump’s efforts to pressure state leaders to reverse his 11,000-vote loss to Democrat Joe Biden and organize a slate of illegitimate electors to undermine the process of formalizing Biden’s victory. She has also looked into an attempt by Trump’s allies to manipulate voting equipment in rural Coffee County.

Willis has said she might invoke a racketeering law used to go after organized crime organizations.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and accuses Willis, an elected Democrat, of being politically motivated.

Trump, 77, has been criminally indicted three times so far this year, including once by US Special Counsel Jack Smith on charges of trying to overturn his election defeat.

He has long dismissed the many investigations, including two impeachments, he has faced in his years in politics as a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

Willis could invoke the racketeering law to bring criminal charges against allies who worked with Trump to reverse his defeat.

Prosecutors interviewed 75 witnesses, including Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, who asked the state’s top election official to examine absentee ballots in Democratic-leaning areas after Trump’s defeat, and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who urged lawmakers not to certify Biden’s victory.

Other Republicans, like Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, resisted the effort to change the outcome.

The case stems from a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse his narrow loss. Raffensperger declined to do so.

Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol four days later on Jan. 6 in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent lawmakers from certifying Biden’s victory.

Georgia, once reliably Republican, has emerged as one of a handful of politically competitive states that can determine the outcome of presidential elections.

Trump persists in falsely claiming he won the November 2020 election although dozens of court cases and state probes have found no evidence to support his claim.

His legal woes have not hurt his political prospects so far as his lead over Republican rivals has grown in recent months, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

By Andy Sullivan, Sarah N. Lynch and Jacqueline Thomsen

(Additional reporting by Tim Ahmann, Jacqueline Thomsen, Joseph Ax and Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Andy Sullivan; editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)

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