Georgia prosecutor launches criminal investigation into Trump phone call

Georgia prosecutor launches criminal investigation into Trump phone call


Georgia prosecutor launches criminal investigation into Trump phone call

Georgia prosecutor launches criminal investigation into Trump phone call

Prosecutors in Georgia have launched a criminal investigation into the a phone call made by former President Donald Trump in which he allegedly pressured Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to help him overturn the 2020 election.

The New York Times reported that Fani Willis, the Democratic prosecutor of Fulton County, sent letters to several state officials, including Mr Raffensperger, requesting they preserve documents relating to the call.

Ms Willis was recently elected and is the first African-American woman to hold the position in Fulton County, which is the state’s most populous county and is home to Atlanta.

Former prosecutors speaking to the Times said Mr Trump’s call may have violated three state laws; criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, conspiracy, and intentional interference with another person’s performance of election duties, which is a misdemeanor.

Both criminal solicitation and conspiracy charges can be brought as either felonies or misdemeanors. Criminal solicitation is punishable by at least a year in prison.

During the hour-long call, Mr Trump is alleged to have put pressure on Mr Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss in the state.

The former president wrongfully alleged that there had been massive voter fraud in the state. His insistence that he could not have lost Georgia without alleged Democratic election tampering resulted in Mr Raffensperger – who is a Republican – and his family receiving death threats. Mr Trump has also taken some blame for the January run-off losses of Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, which cost the Republicans control of the Senate.

Mr Trump’s call to Mr Raffensperger was not the only one he made in an effort to interfere in the election; in early December he called the state’s governor, Brian Kemp, and asked him to call for a special session of the state legislature for the purposes of overturning the election results.

Joe Biden won the election in Georgia and that outcome withstood two recounts. By the time all the recounts finished, Mr Biden won the state by 12,000 votes.

The investigation into Mr Trump’s call begins as his impeachment trial in the Senate is underway. Mr Trump was impeached for a historic second time for allegedly inciting the violent attack on the US Capitol on 6 January.

On top of the Georgia investigation and his impeachment, Mr Trump is also facing scrutiny from Manhattan Attorney General Cy Vance.

Mr Vance is investigating potential financial crimes carried out by the Trump Organisation. Mr Trump has denied any suggestion of this, with an attorney for the Trump Organization in August 2019 describing Mr Vance’s inquiry as a “political hit job”, the BBC reported. The district attorney is currently seeking Mr Trump’s tax returns and has filed requests for other private documents tied to him and the organisation.

If Mr Trump were to be convicted in either Georgia or New York of state crimes, he would have to face punishment without the hope of eventual reprieve. Presidential pardons cannot clear state criminal charges.


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