NYT: Georgia Opens Criminal Probe Of Trump Election Meddling

ROME, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 01: A bus with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump sits next to the crowd during a campaign rally at Richard B. Russell Airport on November 01, 2020 in Rome, Georgia. (Photo by Justin Sul... ROME, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 01: A bus with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump sits next to the crowd during a campaign rally at Richard B. Russell Airport on November 01, 2020 in Rome, Georgia. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
February 10, 2021 11:00 a.m.

Georgia prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation of the Jan. 2 phone call in which President Trump tried to overturn election results in the state, the New York Times reports.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis reportedly sent letters to Georgia government officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Raffensperger was on the Jan. 2 call with a number of lawyers in which Trump pressed the state to upend the election results and make him the winner.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump told Raffensperger on the call.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

The New York Times reported that the letters sent by Willis’ office ordered recipients to preserve documents related to the phone call, and said that “the request was part of a criminal investigation.”

A spokesperson for the district attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.

The phone call came the week of the Capitol insurrection attempt, in which the former President egged on a crowd of his supporters as they ransacked the Capitol building in an attempt to stop President Biden’s victory from being certified.

The investigation is at least the second state-level criminal probe to focus on the former President. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been probing Trump’s finances as part of a sweeping investigation into the Trump organization, for which prosecutors have spent years trying to get ahold of the former President’s tax returns.

The Georgia probe focuses on more recent and now-public conduct: the Washington Post published a recording of the phone call. The call came shortly before Byung Jin “BJay” Pak, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, suddenly resigned and was replaced by an out-of-succession lawyer. Trump had griped on the call with Raffensperger about a “never-Trump” U.S. attorney in the state who was not looking into his false allegations of voter fraud.

NPR’s Stephen Fowler posted a copy of the letter Wednesday morning.

The letter asks that records relating to how the state administered the 2020 election be preserved, “with particular care being given to set aside and preserve those that may be evidence of attempts to influence the actions of persons who were administering that election.”

The letter notes that the records may include emails sent on both official government and personal accounts.

“The next Fulton County grand jury is due to convene in March, and this office will begin requesting grand jury subpoenas as necessary at that time,” the letter reads.

Willis also wrote in the message that “subjects of the investigation” were in contact with the Georgia Secretary of State, state attorney general, and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

“As such, this office is the one agency with jurisdiction that is not a witness to the conduct that is the subject of the investigation,” Willis wrote.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Senior Editor for Content Strategy and Audience Development:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: