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Donald Trump says Georgia grand jury report clears him

By Sarah May
|
February 20, 2023

A Georgia grand jury report on the activities of Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of the 2020 election was just released, and according to the former president, the findings point to “total exoneration,” as the Daily Mail reports.

Trump took to his Truth Social platform last week to express his gratitude to the special grand jury for what he declared an entirely favorable outcome with regard to his own alleged culpability.

Report raises perjury questions

The grand jury report to which Trump referred was made public by a Superior Court judge, and though Trump appeared to view it as nothing but good news, some of the findings within it could spell trouble for at least one of the witnesses involved in the panel's review.

As NBC News notes, the report includes findings from the grand jurors that “perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it.”

Further, the grand jury added its recommendation that “the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”

Notably, however, the newly unsealed portions of the grand jury's work do not indicate precisely who panel members believe should be the subject of indictments, whether for perjury or for any other offenses.

Trump heralds “exoneration”

It was not long after the report's release that Trump took to his own social media platform to laud the outcome as full vindication with regard to his actions in the aftermath of the 2020 contest.

“Thank you to the Special Grand Jury in the Great State of Georgia for your Patriotism & Courage. Total exoneration. The USA is very proud of you!!!” wrote Trump.

The former president's campaign also issued a statement lauding the fact that Trump was not mentioned in the parts of the report that were unsealed as someone believed to have committed a crime.

“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,” added Steven Cheung, campaign spokesman.

Exoneration claim mocked

The former president's claims of exoneration by the special grand jury were met with swift ridicule, however, from a host of left-leaning commentators who contended that the released report did no such thing, as the Independent noted.

Lawyer and pundit Ron Filipkowski was particularly biting in his reaction, saying of Trump's statement, “As dumb as he is, even he knows this is BS. But he is cunning enough to know the cultists will buy it.”

Norm Eisen, a legal analyst on CNN, pointed out that the jurors' report specifically stated, “we find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election,” countering a hypothesis that formed the basis of Trump's conduct at the time in question.

As a result, Eisen said, “The GA special grand jury has spoken – that means Trump committed crimes. He's gonna get indicted.”

Contentious battle over release

Last week's release of portions of the grand jury report came after a good amount of legal wrangling between Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) and a number of media outlets, which argued for transparency, as The Hill recently reported.

Willis argued that the rights of future defendants in the case needed to be protected by keeping the report sealed, but also noted that “[charging] decisions are imminent” in the matter.

Attorneys for members of the media, however, contended that the report's release was necessary because “the faith of the public in the court system is much improved by operating in a public way.”

In the end, Judge Robert McBurney ruled that three parts of the grand jury's final report would indeed be made public, opining that “the compelling public interest in these proceedings and the unquestionable value and importance of transparency require their release.” Where the case goes from here, however, and what that might mean for Trump, only time will tell.