Special Grand Jury Recommended Charges Against Sens. Graham, Perdue, Loeffler

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Ranking member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) listens during a news conference on the U.S. Supreme Court as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) looks on at the U.S. Capitol Building on July 19, 2023 in Washing... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Ranking member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) listens during a news conference on the U.S. Supreme Court as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) looks on at the U.S. Capitol Building on July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. Senators with the Senate Judiciary Committee held the press conference to discuss Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard Durbin's (D-IL) upcoming ethics bill for U.S. Supreme Court justices. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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The special grand jury whose investigation served as the progenitor of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ later RICO indictments for 2020 election interference recommended charges against three Republican Senators – none of which were ultimately brought.

According to a copy of the special grand jury’s final report unsealed Friday morning, members of the panel wanted to bring charges in the “national effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election” against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and former Sens. David Perdue (R-GA) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA).

Attorney Cleta Mitchell, who stoked bogus concerns of voter fraud and was on Trump’s infamous Jan. 2 call with Brad Raffensperger, also was recommended for charges.

The recommendations from special grand jury members suggest an even broader basis for charges, encompassing not only Trump, his attorneys, and his most active associates, but even those who played more incidental but still consequential roles in the scheme to undo Biden’s 2020 victory.

Willis and the later regular grand jury did not ultimately bring charges against Mitchell, the senators, or several others whom a majorities of grand jurors recommended for indictment. Those include Michael Flynn and attorney Lin Wood, both among the most rabid spreaders of election fraud conspiracy theories. They also include all of the Georgia false electors; Willis only brought charges against three of them.

Vote totals for the proposed charges are included in the report. Out of 38 people recommended for indictment, 20 were not ultimately charged in the August indictment.

For the senators, there was notable dissent among the grand jurors. One footnote said that one juror believed that Loeffler and Perdue should not be charged because their statements, “while pandering to their political base, do not give rise to their being guilty of criminal conspiracy.”

That doubt is reflected in the vote totals for all three senators, which played out as follows:

  • Sen. Kelly Loeffler (14 yes, 6 no, 1 abstain)
  • Sen. David Perdue (17 yes, 4 no, 0 abstain)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (13 yes, 7 no, 1 abstain)

Members of the special grand jury voted to recommend Graham and Loeffler for indictment under the main RICO charge. They voted to recommend Perdue for that charge, and also for a false statements charge relating to his alleged outreach to Georgia officials.

For Trump and the overarching RICO charge, however, the votes were nearly unanimous: 20 yeses, 1 no. The same pattern applied to charging recommendations for the following people:

  • Rudy Giuliani
  • John Eastman
  • Ken Chesebro
  • Sidney Powell
  • Mark Meadows
  • Jenna Ellis
  • Jeff Clark
  • Lin Wood
  • Michael Flynn
  • Cleta Mitchell
  • Boris Epshteyn

Of those, Wood, Flynn, Mitchell, and Epshteyn were not charged.

Members of the special grand jury also voted to charge the entire slate of fake electors. After months more of investigation, Willis only opted to charge three of the fake electors, all of whom allegedly played roles in organizing the vote. But grand jurors voted overwhelmingly to charge the rest of the false slate, with 19 yeses and 2 nos for each.

On the fake electors recommendations, a footnote says that the two dissenting jurors disagreed because they believed the fake electors themselves were misled into taking an action that they understood as “their civic duty.”

The Fulton County special grand jury started its investigation in June 2022 and concluded in December 2022. The votes on the recommendations that appear in its final report took place at the conclusion of the jury’s service, in December.

After that, Willis spent months continuing the investigation as her office prepared for prosecution. Of the 38 people recommended for indictment, Willis eventually charged 18.

A 19th defendant, Trump 2020 campaign official Mike Roman, was indicted in the RICO case but did not appear in the final report of the special grand jury.

Under Georgia law, a separate grand jury eventually voted to issue charges.

A redacted version of the final report was publicly released in February, including a recommendation that Willis issue perjury charges and a finding that fraud did not and could not have affected the outcome of the election in Georgia. But the rare look at the special grand jury’s deliberations was only unsealed and released in full on Friday morning, pursuant to a court order.

Perdue and Mitchell didn’t immediately return TPM’s requests for comment. Later Friday, Graham reiterated to reporters on the Hill his long-standing position on his actions in Georgia.

“What I did was consistent with my job as senator and judiciary committee chairman,” he said.

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