How did Lindsey Graham, Michael Flynn and others dodge charges in Fulton County indictment?

Why was it that the special grand jury that investigated Donald Trump and allies’ alleged election interference in Georgia initially recommended charges against 39 people while only 19 were charged by the Fulton County district attorney?

Well, clues have now emerged in a final report about the jury’s recommendations which was unsealed on Friday and shows a list of Trump associates — some of them former government officials — who were identified for prosecution for their alleged involvement in helping Mr Trump try to overturn election 2020 results in Georgia.

Among the list is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, ex-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and ex-Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

But though the special grand jury recommended a series of charges against them and others, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis chose not to include them in her arguments to a regular grand jury.

In Georgia, a special grand jury does not have the authority to bring an indictment forward, only produce a report of recommended charges. Therefore, Ms Willis — who asked the special grand jury to convene because they have subpoena powers — gets to choose which cases go forward. And, it appears, she chose the ones with a most compelling reasons for an indictment.

The process was lengthy — from June to December 2022 the special grand jury heard testimony from a bevy of witnesses who testified to Mr Trump and his allies’ alleged election interference. The jury’s report was submitted this past February.

Then a regular grand jury, which does have the authority to produce an indictment, heard evidence from Ms Willis and other prosecutors regarding the argument to indict Mr Trump and his allies.

Other people named in the special grand jury’s report are former members of Mr Trump’s team, Cleta Mitchell and Boris Epshteyn, as well as right-wing lawyers Lin Wood, Kurt Hilbert and Alex Kaufman.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (AP)
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (AP)

The special grand jury also recommended charges against a group of fake GOP electors — including Burt Jones, the current lieutenant governor of Georgia.

Despite the report recommending charges for the 21 other Trump allies, it indicates that not all of the 26-person panel agreed with recommending charges against certain people, including Mr Graham.

Jurors did vote unanimously to charge Mr Trump and top advisors such as Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Kenneth Cheseboro and Sidney Powell.

Last month, Mr Trump and 18 co-defendants were charged with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, among other criminal charges.

Each defendant had to turn themselves into Fulton County jail where they were arrested, booked, and given a mug shot. This past week, all 19 pleaded not guilty and waived their right to appear at their arraignment.