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Grand jury seated in Trump Georgia election interference probe

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Then-President Donald Trump reacts to his supporters in Dalton, Ga., on Jan. 4, 2021. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/87733c88976ed2ca877d65f8678e1867/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Then-President Donald Trump reacts to his supporters in Dalton, Ga., on Jan. 4, 2021. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI | License Photo

May 2 (UPI) -- A special grand jury was selected Monday in Atlanta as part of an investigation into whether former President Donald Trump committed any crimes in seeking to influence Georgia's 2020 election results.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney swore in members of the grand jury after they were selected from a pool of 200 candidates, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and CNN reported.

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The group was impaneled as part of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' investigation into whether a phone call made by Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, constituted illegal pressure on state officials to overturn President Joe Biden's victory in Georgia in 2020.

Willis has been investigating whether Trump broke Georgia's election laws, specifically citing audio of a the call in which Trump urged Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" to overturn the state's certified election results.

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The prosecutor won the right to assemble the grand jury in January when the majority of judges on Fulton County's Superior Court bench approved her request. They ruled the grand jury can remain in place for a period "not to exceed 12 months."

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The jury will not have the power to return an indictment but "may make recommendations concerning criminal prosecutions as it shall see fit," Willis said in a letter to the court, adding that "a significant number of witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony."

In addition to Trump's call to Raffensperger, Willis also is probing false election claims made by Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, during a December 2020 Georgia legislative hearing, and the resignation of Atlanta-based U.S. Attorney Byung "BJay" Pak, who told the Senate Judiciary Committee last year that pressure to investigate Trump's false claims led to his abrupt departure on Jan. 4, 2021.

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McBurney told the newly impaneled jurors their duty is to decide if any actions they review are "unlawful such that you might recommend to the district attorney that she pursue criminal charges. You might recommend the contrary."

Willis, a Democrat, previously said she would wait until June 1 to begin calling witnesses to avoid interfering with Georgia's May 24 primary election.

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