Georgia grand jury recommended charges against Lindsey Graham in Trump probe but none were brought

The report also showed that some grand jurors recommended indicting former senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue

Eric Garcia
Friday 08 September 2023 17:49 BST
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Louise Thomas

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The grand jury in Fulton County Georgia recommended that Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and two former senators be charged alongside former president Donald Trump.

The grand jury released its report on Friday about the evidence it heard in the case District Attorney Fani Willis brought against Mr Trump and his allies for their attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

The report detailed the grand jury’s votes on whether to charge someone or if they abstained.

The grand jury handed down its indictment of Mr Trump and 18 accomplices – including former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, attorney Jenna Ellis, former White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorney John Eastman – last month.

Specifically, the grand jury charged all 19 defendants with violating the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The report showed that 13 of the 21 grand jurors voted that Mr Graham should be indicted alongside other alleged conspirators for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Washington, DC. But seven grand jurors voted not to charge Mr Graham, a steadfast ally of Mr Trump’s who has already endorsed his 2024 bid for president, and one abstained.

Lindsay Graham has mostly been a key ally of Donald Trump although criticised him after January 6
Lindsay Graham has mostly been a key ally of Donald Trump although criticised him after January 6 (Getty Images)

In addition, 17 grand jurors voted to charge former Republican senator David Perdue of Georgia and fourteen grand jurors voted to charge former Republican senator Kelly Loeffler for the same crime.

But ultimately, the grand jury did not charge Mr Graham, Ms Loeffler or Mr Perdue.

A footnote to the report said that one of the dissenting jurors who voted against indicting Mr Perdue and Ms Loeffler on a RICO charge said that their statements after the 2020 presidential election were meant to pander to their political base as they campaigned in the runoff election.

Kelly Loeffler at a campaign event backed by Donald Trump
Kelly Loeffler at a campaign event backed by Donald Trump (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

At the time, Mr Perdue and Ms Loeffler were seeking to win in a runoff election after the 2020 election but lost their races to Sens Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) respectively.

After the January 6 riot, Ms Loeffler dropped her the objection to the 2020 presidential election results. Conversely, Mr Trump endorsed Mr Perdue as he staged an unsuccessful primary challenge last year to Republican Gov Brian Kemp, who opposed Mr Trump’s overtures to change the 2020 presidential election results.

Some of the people who faced the same charges – such as Mr Giuliani, Mr Meadows, attorney Sidney Powell, Mr Eastman, former Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer and Mr Trump – were ultimately indicted.

Like Loeffler, David Perdue lost his runoff election
Like Loeffler, David Perdue lost his runoff election (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Mr Graham, at one point a major critic of Mr Trump, made numerous legal attempts to avoid testifying in Ms Willis’s investigation for his work in aiding the former president’s attempts to stay in power. After the January 6 riot, Mr Graham later said “but today all I can say is count me out.”

The grand jury convened and first heard evidence last June and continued hearing it until December 2022. Throughout the process, it heard testimony from 75 witnesses, a majority of whom the report said testified under oath.

Mr Trump blasted the grand jury report in a post on Truth Social and maintained his innocence.

“It has ZERO credibility and badly taints Fani Willis and this whole political Witch Hunt,” he said. “Essentially, they wanted to indict anybody who happened to be breathing at the time. It totally undermines the credibility of the findings, and badly hurts the Great State of Georgia, whose wonderful and patriotic people are not happy with this charade of an out of control ‘prosecutor’ doing the work of, and for, the DOJ. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”

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