By Joseph Green-Bishop
Texas Metro News Correspondent
The futures of former President Donald J. Trump and a plethora of his political associates now rest in the hands of a 52-year-old well-respected District Attorney in Atlanta, GA, who once said that she would not decline to prosecute an individual because of his wealth or political position.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is considering whether her office will file criminal charges against high profile allies of the former president who are accused of illegally interfering in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
She will also decide, legal experts say, whether the former president will be charged.
“A majority of the grand jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more of the witnesses testifying before it,” a portion of the grand jury’s report stated. “The grand jury recommends that the district attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”
The panel, which interviewed 75 witnesses, also said that it found no evidence of election fraud; an allegation made by President Trump and his allies.
“The findings of a grand jury help to begin the process of criminal prosecution,” said Sameer Ahmed, a lawyer, who is also board chairman of the Muslim Center for Human Services in Richland Hills. “Its actions allow a District Attorney to move forward, and indict a defendant.”
The former president did not appear before the grand jury which concluded its proceedings in December of 2022. In a statement released on Thursday he said that the report had nothing to do with him.
Several of Trump’s allies, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the president’s former legal counsel, Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) and John Eastman, a legal advisor, were subpoenaed and did appear before the panel.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney released portions of the grand jury’s report Thursday. The judge said that the remaining portions of the report included the grand jury’s recommendations on who should be indicted.
Releasing the full report would violate the due process rights of those he described as “potential future defendants.”
Central to the former president’s possible culpability is a leaked phone conversation that he and members of his staff made in January of 2021 to Georgia State election officials. During the 60-minute call, Trump asked Georgia officials to find an additional 11, 780 votes and apply them to his total.
The additional votes would have made then-President Trump the winner of the state’s presidential contest with President Joe Biden. Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, who participated in the phone call refused President Trump’s request. Raffensperger, who later said that he felt pressured, disputed the allegations of election fraud.
DA Willis, a prosecutor for nearly two decades has said that she had discovered credible allegations of crimes in the case. During a hearing on the grand jury’s report in January, she argued against its release because the due process rights of defendants would be violated, she said.
In the past, Willis has said that she was reviewing evidence of conspiracy, and other violations of Georgia state law. A decision to go forward with indictments could be made as early as March, according to a legal source.
Nigel Redmond, a law partner in the Dallas-based firm of Redmond and Eiland PLLC, said that grand jury proceedings were important to the American legal system.
“If properly commenced and educated they can be extremely useful in holding everyone involved accountable,” he said. “They serve as a check and balance system for law enforcement agencies.”