Some witnesses may have lied under oath during a grand jury probe of former president Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia, according to excerpts from the panel’s findings released on Thursday.
The special grand jury also concluded there was no widespread fraud in the election, despite Mr. Trump’s false claims that the vote was rigged against him, and delivered recommendations to prosecutors on possible indictments for election interference, the document showed.
Those charging recommendations – along with the bulk of the report – remain sealed for now, pursuant to a judge’s order, leaving open the question of whether Mr. Trump or anyone else could eventually face prosecution.
Mr. Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, was not subpoenaed as a witness and did not appear before the grand jury, his lawyers have said.
Among the 75 witnesses who gave sworn testimony were close Trump allies such as lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, as well as top Georgia officials including Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
“A majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” the report said, adding that prosecutors should consider appropriate charges.
Mr. Graham told Reuters when asked about the report’s reference to possible perjury: “I’ll leave that up to them to figure it out. I’m confident of what I said.”
The excerpts released on Thursday – just five pages in all – did not name any specific witnesses or accuse any individuals of crimes.
“The long-awaited important sections of the Georgia report, which do not even mention President Trump’s name, have nothing to do with the President because President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong,” Steven Cheung, a Trump spokesperson, said in a statement.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney in a Monday order said the report included “a roster of who should [or should not] be indicted.” But the judge ruled those details would stay secret for now out of concern that people named have not had an adequate opportunity to defend themselves.
Perjury in Georgia is punishable by imprisonment of one to 10 years.
Steve Sadow, an Atlanta criminal defence attorney, said perjury is typically charged in connection with other crimes. The grand jury’s finding shows “there’s something that in fact went on and people are covering it up or attempting to cover it up.”
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened an investigation shortly after Mr. Trump’s January, 2021 phone call to a state official asking him to “find” more votes to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Mr. Trump continues to assert falsely that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud. He has denied wrongdoing and accused Ms. Willis, an elected Democrat, of targeting him for political reasons.
The Georgia investigation is one of several threatening Mr. Trump, including separate U.S. Justice Department inquiries into his retention of classified materials after leaving office as well as his efforts to invalidate the 2020 election results.
Unlike a regular grand jury, the special grand jury was not empowered to issue indictments, only recommendations, and the decision on whether to press charges ultimately rests with Ms. Willis, the district attorney. If she decides prosecution is warranted, she would need to pursue indictments from a traditional grand jury.
Mr. Trump called Georgia’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, and claimed falsely that the election results were fraudulent. A recording of the call was leaked.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state,” said Mr. Trump, referring to the margin of 11,779 votes by which Mr. Biden won.
Four days later, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to stop Congress from certifying Mr. Biden’s victory.
Ms. Willis has also examined a scheme in which a slate of alternate electors falsely asserted that Mr. Trump had won Georgia in an unsuccessful effort to award the state’s electoral votes to him rather than Mr. Biden.