2020 Election

Georgia Prosecutors Open Criminal Probe of Trump's Call Urging Secretary of State to ‘Find' Votes

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sent a letter to state government officials, including Raffensperger, requesting their offices preserve documents related to the call as part of a "criminal investigation"

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Fulton County prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia's election results, including his call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, NBC News reports.

The probe, first reported by The New York Times, comes two days after Raffensperger's office confirmed it had opened its own investigation into a phone call between Trump and the state's top elections official in which the then-president said he wanted to “find” enough votes to overturn his loss in the state.

On Wednesday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sent a letter to state government officials, including Raffensperger, requesting their offices preserve documents related to the call, according to a state official with knowledge of the letter.

NBC News has verified the contents of this letter, which explicitly states the request is part of a "criminal investigation" into several charges ranging from false statements to "any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration."

Willis, a Democrat elected to the job in November, did not specifically mention Trump in the letters announcing her investigation. But the former president has been under intense criticism for the call.

Willis spokesman Jeff DiSantis told The Associated Press that while he could not name the subjects under investigation, he confirmed that the call to Raffensperger was “part of it” and said “the matters reported on over the last several weeks are the matters being investigated.” In her letters, Willis also remarks that officials “have no reason to believe that any Georgia official is a target of this investigation.”

The district attorney added that she will request grand jury subpoenas for the investigation when the next Fulton County grand jury meets in March.

Senior Trump adviser Jason Miller decried the district attorney’s announcement, saying “the timing here is not accidental given today’s impeachment trial.”

"This is simply the Democrats’ latest attempt to score political points by continuing their witch hunt against President Trump, and everybody sees through it,” Miller said.

Trump had refused to accept his loss to Democrat Joe Biden and focused much of his attention on Georgia, a traditionally red state that he narrowly lost. During the Jan. 2 phone call, Trump repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results, an assertion the secretary of state firmly rejected.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”

The separate investigation by the secretary of state's office stems from a complaint by George Washington University Law School professor John Banzhaf III, according to the investigative case sheet.

In an emailed press release sent Jan. 4, Banzhaf said he had filed a complaint with the secretary of state's office requesting “that this matter be fully investigated, and action be taken to the extent appropriate.” The complaint suggests Trump may have committed one or more violations of Georgia law, including conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and intentional interference with the performance of election duties, the release says.

The Associated Press/NBC
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