A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia recommended criminal charges against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and former Georgia GOP Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, according to a report released on Friday. The panel also recommended charges against retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, a former Trump national security adviser, and Boris Epshteyn, a top adviser to the former president.
The special grand jury panel stated that it had heard from around 75 witnesses before completing a report in December with recommendations for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on charges related to efforts after the 2020 presidential election. The panel’s subpoena power was necessary to compel the testimony of witnesses who might otherwise not have been willing to appear, according to Willis.
However, Willis’ office ultimately indicted 19 people, including Sidney Powell, Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and others. They were charged with violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law and all have pleaded not guilty.
Sen. Graham expressed concern about the potential criminalization of his work as a senator, describing the grand jury report as “troubling for the country.” He argued, “You can’t criminalize senators for doing their job when they have a constitutional requirement to fulfill.”
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered the partial release of the report recommending charges in February but declined to immediately release the panel’s recommendations on who should or should not be prosecuted. In a new order filed Aug. 28, Judge McBurney stated that the due process concerns were moot since a regular grand jury has indicted President Trump and 18 other people under the state’s anti-racketeering law.
It is unclear when or if the transcripts of witness testimony will be released. The grand jury panel members claim their recommendations were not influenced by Ms. Willis’ office and that the grand jury contained no legal experts or any criminal defense lawyers. In the report, they wrote that they used their collective best efforts to understand the facts as presented and the laws as explained.
The grand jurors also stated that they believed the Georgia 2020 election wasn’t fraught with “widespread fraud,” contradicting claims made by the former president and others.
Neither Flynn, Loeffler, Epshteyn, nor Perdue have released statements as of Friday morning. Previously, these current and former senators denied any wrongdoing related to the 2020 election.
In response to the grand jury report, President Trump wrote on social media that it has “zero credibility” and “taints” Ms. Willis’ case against him and his co-defendants. He stated, “Essentially, they wanted to indict anybody who happened to be breathing at the time.”
The charges seem to have originated from a phone call that Sen. Graham made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who claimed that Graham had asked him whether it was possible to invalidate legally cast ballots after the 2020 victory. Graham, however, said that he believed it “was a good conversation” and that he committed no wrongdoing.