A judge in Georgia on Monday approved the creation of a special grand jury to assist in collecting testimony as part of a criminal investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump to alter the outcome of that state’s 2020 election.
The approval came at the request of the Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis, who on Thursday said a significant number of witnesses were refusing to cooperate with her probe of Trump unless they were subject to a grand jury subpoena.
The special grand jury in the Trump probe will begin May 2 and will work for no longer than 12 months, according to an order issued by Fulton County Chief Judge Christopher Brasher, who approved the panel after a majority of county judges endorsed the request.
Under Georgia law, special grand juries, which are rarely created, cannot indict defendants on criminal charges. However, they can issue subpoenas for testimony, documents and other evidence, which a prosecutor then can use as the basis for criminal charges. Special grand juries also can make recommendations on prosecutions of individuals.
Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to President Joe Biden in Georgia and a number of other key swing states, ensuring Biden won the Electoral College vote nationally.