Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ sweeping investigation has sought to determine not only whether former President Donald Trump committed crimes, but also whether there was a broader criminal conspiracy playing out in the efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
In document-preservation requests to Georgia officials in February 2021, Willis said she was investigating potential crimes including solicitation of election fraud, making false statements to government bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and violence or threats related to election administration.
The Georgia probe was set off by an hour-long January 2021 phone call from Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win the Peach State.
Over time, the investigation expanded well beyond the Trump phone call to include false claims of election fraud to state lawmakers, the fake elector scheme, efforts by unauthorized individuals to access voting machines in one Georgia county along with threats and harassment against election workers.
Willis also investigated the sudden departure of Byung “BJay” Pak, the former US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
Along the way, Willis designated a number of people as targets of her probe, including 16 Georgia Republicans who served as pro-Trump electors in 2020 and Rudy Giuliani, who was working as a lawyer for Trump.
While a special grand jury does not issue indictments, it possesses broader investigative powers than a typical grand jury in the state as well as the power to issue subpoenas for witness testimony, phone, email and other records.
With the special grand jury recommendations on indictments, Willis could then seek them from the other grand juries regularly empaneled in Fulton County.
Willis has previously said she could pursue Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) charges in this case, allowing prosecutors to bring charges against multiple defendants and make the case that Trump and his allies were part of a criminal enterprise. Willis also considered bringing in John Floyd, a lawyer with deep expertise in racketeering cases, to assist her office.