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Atlanta-area special grand jury completes Trump investigation

The Atlanta-area special grand jury investigating efforts by Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election has concluded its investigation, according to the state judge overseeing the probe.

Judge Robert McBurney acknowledged the conclusion of the investigation in a two-page order, noting that the panel “has now issued its final report,” but it’s unclear what the grand jury put in its report regarding Trump.

The special grand jury is expected to make a charging recommendation related to Trump and other targets, about whether their efforts to overturn the 2020 election violated state law. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis must then make the ultimate charging decision after presenting the panel’s findings to a regular grand jury.

The special grand jury has been operating for a year and hauled in testimony from some of Trump’s closest allies, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows, attorney Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The panel’s recommendations remain unclear, but McBurney has set a Jan. 24 hearing to consider whether to unseal the panel’s recommendations and findings. Whether any of its substantive conclusions will be revealed before then is also unclear.

The panel spent months probing efforts by top Trump allies to deputize GOP activists to pose as presidential electors, even though Trump lost the state. That effort was a component of Trump’s strategy to overturn the 2020 election when Congress met to count electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

The special grand jury also probed Trump’s Jan. 2, 2021 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, famously asking election officials to “find” enough votes to reverse his defeat.

Several witnesses, including Graham and Meadows, challenged the special grand jury’s authority. But Meadows lost a court battle that reached the South Carolina Supreme Court, and Graham similarly was required to testify after a legal push that reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Along the way, Willis publicly indicated her interest in bringing other key Trump allies before the special grand jury, noticing deposition requests and subpoenas for figures like former national security adviser Mike Flynn — who lost his own Florida legal battle against the panel — and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Attorney John Eastman, an architect of Trump’s bid to remain in power, indicated that he pleaded the Fifth when appearing before the special grand jury. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was also ordered to testify before the panel.

The panel’s probe closely tracked efforts by the Jan. 6 select committee to investigate Trump’s efforts. Raffensperger and his deputy Gabriel Sterling testified in June at a public hearing of the select committee, as did two Georgia election workers who faced threats and abuse after they became the subject of election conspiracies amplified by Trump and Giuliani.

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