Jurors Say Trump Sought Special Session of Georgia House

But state's Republican House speaker took the wind out of his sails
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2023 6:35 AM CDT
Jurors Say Trump Sought Special Session of Georgia House
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston holds a news conference after a session in Atlanta on Feb. 5, 2020.   (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

Members of the grand jury that investigated alleged election-meddling in Georgia say then-President Trump called then-Georgia House Speaker David Ralston as part of his effort to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state. Jurors tell the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that they heard a recording of the call, in which Trump urged Ralston, a Republican, to hold a special session of the state legislature to overturn Biden's win. Ralston "basically cut the president off. He said, 'I will do everything in my power that I think is appropriate,'" one juror says. "He just basically took the wind out of the sails," the juror says. "'Well, thank you,’ you know, is all the president could say." Ralston did not call a special session.

Ralston, the longest-serving Republican speaker in state history, testified before the special grand jury in July. He died in November, less than two weeks after he announced he would not seek re-election for health reasons. Trump made two other calls to Georgia officials that have been previously reported. In a Dec 23, 2020 call, he told the state's lead elections investigator she would be a "national hero" if she could "find the fraud." In the most notorious call, he pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" the 11,780 votes needed to overturn his loss. Jurors told the Journal-Constitution that some of the most upsetting testimony they heard was from Raffensperger's wife Tricia, who broke down while describing the threats she had received.

The special grand jury did not have the power to issue indictments, only recommendations, but Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in January that charging decisions are "imminent." Observers believe she may have been waiting to present the case to a regular grand jury at the start of a new two-month term, which arrived last week, Washington Post reports. The jurors who heard the election evidence say that when their full final report is released, it's going to be "massive." "I tell my wife if every person in America knew every single word of information we knew, this country would not be divided as it is right now," one juror says. (Last month, the jury's forewoman hinted at a Trump indictment.)

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