The Fulton County attorney will likely present her case against Trump to a grand jury next week

(CNN) – The Atlanta District Attorney, who is investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies, has gathered witnesses to appear before a grand jury to craft a narrative about how Trump and his supporters tried to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, according to People. familiar with the matter.

Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis is expected to spend two days presenting her case to a grand jury next week.

Willis could pursue multiple indictments as he watches a radical racketeering case that would show Trump and several of his associates as operators of a criminal enterprise that tried to influence the outcome of the Georgia election.

If Willis goes ahead with the racketeering charges, Georgia State law professor Clark D. Cunningham said, “I think it will tell a story.” “The story of how someone at the top, the ex-president, really rallied an army of people to achieve his goal, which is to stay in power by any means.”

Among the witnesses called to Willis are former Republican Lieutenant Governor Jeff Duncan, former Democratic Senator from Georgia Gene Jordan, and freelance journalist George Cheedy. All of them have previously testified before a grand jury with the special purpose of investigating Trump’s case, which has already heard more than 75 witnesses.

But Georgia law is unusual in that special-purpose grand juries — which have broad investigative powers — cannot return indictments. When called witnesses appear before a regular grand jury, those jurors will hear witness testimony for the first time for the more limited purpose of approving or dismissing charges.

Witnesses called to testify discussed various aspects of Willis’ investigation, from conspiracy-laden presentations by Trump associates, including Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani, to Georgia lawmakers in 2020, to calling bogus voters to try to thwart President Joe Biden. . victory in the state. Willis can also rely on internal investigators to present evidence previously collected by a special purpose grand jury.

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In a case of this size, “the indictment could have been written and reviewed for months,” said Michael J. Moore, former US Attorney for the Central District of Georgia, told CNN.

Moore said that if there was anything left to do, it would likely be final tweaks and touch-ups.

“The accusation, word for word, will be peppered with flies. You make sure there are no mistakes,” Moore said. “And you make sure you have enough pieces to prove each charge.”

Willis’ office declined to comment.

sweeping issue

Willis launched his investigation into Trump in early 2021, shortly after Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and pressured the Republican to “find” the votes needed for the then-president to win Georgia. At his campaign event on Tuesday, Trump continued to insist it was the “perfect phone call.”

His investigation steadily expanded, and Willis examined the racketeering charges in the Trump case. The Organized Crime Influence and Corruption Act (RICO) is a law that the Attorney General spoke fondly of and used in unorthodox ways to bring charges against teachers and musicians in the area of ​​Atlanta.

In 2015, Willis came into the national spotlight as the Fulton County District Attorney when he used Georgia’s racketeering statute to charge teachers, principals and other education officials in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

After a seven-month trial, Willis obtained convictions for 11 of the 12 defendants on charges of racketeering and other fraud-related offenses believed to date back to early 2001, when skills test scores across the state began to rise. In the school district that includes 50,000 students.

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“The reason I like RICO is because I think juries are very smart,” Willis told reporters in a 2022 news conference regarding a gang-related indictment. They want to know what happened. They want to make an accurate decision about someone’s life. Thus, RICO is a tool that allows the attorney general’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story.”

Soon after Willis began investigating Trump, he hired attorney John Floyd, known for his deep knowledge of organized crime cases, to assist in his office.

In addition to allowing prosecutors to weave the narrative, Georgia’s racketeering law allows investigators to include a broader range of behavior in their allegations, including activities that occurred outside the state of Georgia but may have been part of a conspiracy.

Those convicted of racketeering charges also face tougher penalties, a point of leverage for prosecutors if they hope to turn potential co-conspirators or encourage defendants to strike plea bargains.

He was not deterred by the federal indictment

Willis’ team continued to push forward with plans to announce an indictment in the coming weeks, including when special counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump on four federal counts related to his efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 presidential election.

Much of the conduct in the indictment was related to efforts to change the results of the Georgia elections. Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case.

The former president’s legal team believes he will likely face his fourth indictment in the coming days, people familiar with the matter told CNN.

On his campaign stop in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Trump complained about the backlog of cases against him, adding, “He’ll probably have another case.”

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He also criticized the Fulton County District Attorney’s case.

“I’m running in the election in Georgia, which I have every right to do, which I was frankly right about, and they want to impeach me because I question [el resultado de] Trump told the crowd, even though his efforts to challenge the election results in court were unsuccessful and evidence of widespread voter fraud never surfaced.

Moore, the former federal prosecutor, said the biggest danger Willis now faces may be in public perception if he goes ahead with an indictment against Trump.

“It seems to be piling up because the same things that are in the indictment are also in the federal indictment,” Moore predicted, though she was unaware of Willis’ possible draft indictments. “I’m not sure I have anything new to talk about.”

At an event last week at Atlanta Technical College, Willis told reporters that he had reviewed the federal indictment the special counsel had brought against Trump for election interference, but said it would not affect his plans in Georgia.

When asked what he would say to critics who question the purpose of his case in the wake of the federal indictment, Willis said, “I took an oath. And that oath requires you to follow the law. And if someone breaks the law in Fulton County, Georgia, it’s my duty to prosecute, and that’s exactly it.” What I plan to do.”

— CNN’s Jason Morris and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.

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