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Foreperson on Georgia grand jury investigating Trump and 2020 election: ‘I don’t think you will be shocked’ by indictments

<i>Scott Eisen/Getty Images</i><br/>The foreperson of the Atlanta-based grand jury that investigated former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election told CNN on February 21 that the panel is recommending multiple indictments.
Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images
The foreperson of the Atlanta-based grand jury that investigated former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election told CNN on February 21 that the panel is recommending multiple indictments.

By Marshall Cohen, Katie Carver and Devan Cole, CNN

The foreperson of the Atlanta-based grand jury that investigated former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election told CNN on Tuesday that the panel is recommending multiple indictments and suggested “the big name” may be on the list.

“Can you imagine doing this for eight months and not coming out with a whole list” of recommended indictments, Emily Kohrs told CNN. “It’s not a short list. It’s not.”

She continued, “There may be some names on that list that you wouldn’t expect. But the big name that everyone keeps asking me about — I don’t think you will be shocked.”

Kohrs declined later Tuesday to disclose exactly how many indictments the special grand jury recommended be brought as part of the investigation, saying only that she believes it is more than 12.

Asked by CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “Erin Burnett OutFront” whether the number of people was “more than a dozen,” Kohrs replied: “I believe so. That’s probably a good assumption.”

Portions of the grand jury’s final report, released last week, made it clear that the grand jury believed perjury charges were warranted for some witnesses. The foreperson’s identity was first revealed by The Associated Press. And earlier on Tuesday, Kohrs told The New York Times that the grand jury recommended multiple indictments, though she didn’t provide names.

The grand jury met for about seven months in Atlanta and heard testimony from 75 witnesses, including some of Trump’s closest advisers from his final weeks in the White House.

Now that the grand jury is finished, it’s up to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to review the recommendations and make charging decisions. Willis’ decisions in this case will reverberate in the 2024 presidential campaign and beyond.

Trump, who has launched his 2024 campaign for the White House, denies any criminal wrongdoing. He has claimed that Willis, a Democrat, is politically biased, and still regularly promotes the false claim that he actually won the election in Georgia.

Jurors, Kohrs told Bolduan, “definitely heard a lot about former President Trump and we definitely discussed him a lot in the room.”

Kohrs said that as part of the probe, she heard Trump on calls separate from the infamous post-election one he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, asking him to “find” the votes necessary to win Georgia.

“Yes, I am positive I have heard the president on the phone more than once,” she said. CNN previously reported that at least one additional call by Trump to a Georgia state official was part of the investigation.

Willis’ office was not responsible for authorizing whether or not members of the special grand jury could speak to the media and did not know ahead of time that Kohrs was going to go public, according to a source familiar with the situation.

‘I don’t believe there was bias’

Despite Trump’s claims that the prosecutors are liberal zealots on a “witch hunt,” Kohrs said she believed Willis and her team acted in a non-partisan fashion and tried to keep the proceedings fair.

“I don’t believe there was bias on the part of the DA’s team,” she told CNN in the phone interview. “I know for a fact that they were always very worried about accidentally coloring our opinions one way or the other … They told us that they didn’t want any of their opinions to affect any of our opinions, or any of their additional knowledge to affect our knowledge.”

She said the prosecutors told her that they wanted the grand jury to “make your opinions” independently and to “look straight at this by yourselves.”

Kohrs called on Willis to take “decisive action,” now that the fate of the investigation is in her hands.

“Personally, I hope to see her take almost any kind of decisive action, to actually do something,” Kohrs said. “There are too many times in recent history that seem to me like someone has gotten called out for something that people had a problem with, and nothing ever happens.”

Kohrs said there are too many examples of “famous people” avoiding accountability after high-profile investigations.

“How often does something actually happen? I would love to see something actually happen. Don’t make me take back my faith in the system,” Kohrs said. “The only thing I would be disappointed in, at this point, is if this whole thing just disappears. That’s the only thing that would make me sad.”

Witnesses before her grand jury

The foreperson also told CNN that she was “pleasantly surprised” by the friendliness of some witnesses, including key Trump insiders like former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, even though he invoked privilege and declined to answer some questions.

“Some of those people fought not to be there, but once they were there, they were willing to have a conversation, and I respect the hell out of that,” Kohrs said. “Flynn was honestly very nice in person. He was a very nice man. He was definitely interesting. But I don’t recall him saying anything earth-shattering.”

Using the Fifth Amendment or citing various legal privileges was a strategy that the grand jury saw from several of the most prominent witnesses, including Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to Kohrs.

“Mark Meadows did not share very much,” she said. “I asked if he had Twitter, and he pled the Fifth.”

CNN has reached out to Meadows’ attorney for comment about claims from Kohrs that he repeatedly invoked the Fifth and executive privilege.

Separately, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Mike Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short appeared before the special grand jury under subpoena. His appearance was previously reported by The Associated Press.

The Georgia investigation has long been seen as one of Trump’s biggest unsettled legal vulnerabilities, though any prosecution of him would be ripe for constitutional challenges and would face more scrutiny than perhaps any previous case initiated by a local prosecutor.

In addition, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection, and his possible mishandling of classified material. In New York, a criminal probe led by the Manhattan district attorney is still underway, and Trump’s namesake business is fighting a civil fraud lawsuit from the state attorney general.

This story has been updated with additional details Wednesday.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Jason Morris, Francesca Hoffman and Sara Murray contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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