If it isn’t enough that former president Donald Trump currently is being tried for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrectionist riot at the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, have just begun a criminal investigation of Trump’s efforts to pressure state officials there to overturn it presidential election results.
On Wednesday prosecutor Fani Willis sent a letter to numerous state officials directing that they preserve all documents in their possession that relate to Trump’s Jan. 2 phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the leaked audio recording of the hour-long call Trump is heard telling Raffensperger “there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated” the state’s presidential vote total. During that call Trump also said to Raffensperger, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.” Trump’s efforts to flip the Georgia election results in his favor include multiple phone calls to Gov. Brian Kemp, as well as numerous tweets berating Kemp and other Georgia state officials.
Disclosure of the criminal probe comes just two days after the secretary of state’s office announced it was opening a formal administrative investigation of that January call.
Georgia is now the second state, after New York, where the former president is facing a criminal investigation. Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is conducting a criminal fraud inquiry into Trump’s finances. New York attorney general Letitia James also is conducting a civil fraud investigation of Trump.
If Trump were to be convicted of a crime in the state of Georgia, he could not look to Kemp for a reprieve on his sentence. In Georgia, pardons are granted only by the state board of pardons and paroles.