As is typical of Democrat attacks on former President Trump, yesterday a small portion – just five pages of text – of a Georgia grand jury transcript making sensational charges against
Trump and his allies was released without any context or specificity as to who was alleged to have committed perjury or any other crimes.
Judge Robert C.I. McBurney ordered the partial transcript released, however the five pages released do not include any evidence, rather they are conclusory in nature.
For example, without disclosing the names or qualifications of any witnesses, the transcript says:
The Grand Jury heard extensive testimony on the subject of alleged election fraud from poll workers, investigators, technical experts, and State of Georgia employees and officials, as well as from persons still claiming that such fraud took place. We find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election.
Likewise, without any context or specifics of the disputed testimony, the transcript says, “A majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one of more witnesses testifying before it. The Grand Jury recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”
Now, where the release of this small transcript from the Grand Jury’s deliberations gets confusing is the recommendation that “the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”
The only alleged “crime” mentioned in the material Judge McBurney ordered released is “perjury.” So, does that mean that there were no “election interference” crimes committed, because that was what the Grand Jury was originally impaneled to investigate.
As the transcript states, “The Grand Jury was impaneled to investigate a specific issue: the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 presidential elections in the State of Georgia.”
Why was so little of the report released? The grand jury recommended that its findings be made public, and Georgia law requires the courts to honor those requests. “But it gives the judge discretion in when and how to release the report,” said Norman Eisen, a legal expert consulted by the New York Times. Releasing only portions now “to avoid interfering with the rights of those who are named in the report but not yet charged is entirely appropriate.”
Apparently, Georgia state law requires the release of the report, but the judge decided that releasing the full document now — including the report’s “roster of who should (or should not) be indicted” — would be fundamentally unfair to the people whose names are on that list.
One small win for the due process rights of Trump and his supporters, at least for now. But the larger question of the fairness of the Georgia Grand Jury process has yet to be plumbed.
For example, the charge to the Grand Jury was narrow and specific: to investigate “the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 presidential elections in the State of Georgia.”
So, why did the Grand Jury appear to go beyond its remit and offer the conclusion that “no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election”?
Likewise, without the list of subjects and the statutes they purportedly violated it is impossible to tell whether there were specific acts undertaken by Trump and his supporters that violated Georgia law, or if the Grand Jury is effectively criminalizing free speech by making questioning the officially announced results of an election a crime.
It also appears that – by implication – the Grand Jury is assuming for itself the powers the Constitution grants exclusively to Congress to determine the lawful electors in the case where there is a dispute – such as in Georgia where Trump supporters claimed they were the rightful electors, and their votes should be counted for Donald Trump.
What’s more, the Grand Jury’s conclusion that “no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election” would appear to effectively prohibit Trump and his supporters from raising those claims as a defense against any criminal charges they might face.
And there’s one final item worth considering – that the conclusions of the Grand Jury were released in advance of the indictment and arrest of Trump supporters – or even the former President himself – in order to poison the jury pool for what would surely be a series of sensational trials that would take place at the height of the 2024 presidential election cycle.
No one outside the Fulton County Georgia District Attorney’s office knows where this is headed but from our perspective the deck is already being stacked against Donald Trump and his allies and challenges to future elections – no matter how blatant the maladministration might be – are about to get a lot riskier for the challengers.
Georgia Grand Jury indictument
grand jury report
Fulton County Georgia District Attorney’s office