Georgia begins criminal probe into Trump effort to overturn polls

Trump’s January 2 call to Georgia state secretary is a matter of ‘high priority’ for Fulton county prosecutors.

Former President Donald Trump holds a phone call at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 18, 2019 [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]

Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are investigating Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the southern state’s 2020 presidential election results, according to a letter seen by Reuters news agency and first reported by The New York Times on Wednesday, in the second criminal probe faced by the former president.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has sent a letter asking state government officials to preserve documents, including those related to then-President Trump’s call to Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pressuring him to “find” more votes.

During the call, Trump is heard saying to Raffensperger: “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

“This letter is notification that all records potentially related to the administration of the 2020 General Election must be preserved, with particular care being given to set aside and preserve those that may be evidence of attempts to influence the actions of persons who were administering that election,” said the letter dated February 10.

Former President Donald Trump speaking during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 US presidential election results by the US Congress in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 [File: Jim Bourg/Reuters]

“This matter is of high priority, and I am confident that as fellow law enforcement officers sworn to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and Georgia, our acquisition of information and evidence of potential crimes via interviews, documents, videos and electronic records will be cooperative.”

Al Jazeera has requested a copy of the letter, which had not been delivered by the publication.

Representatives for the county prosecutor’s office and for Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Reuters.

On Monday, Raffensperger’s office opened its own probe into Trump’s January 2 phone call pressuring him to overturn President Joe Biden’s November 3 victory in the state based on unfounded voter fraud claims, saying any further legal efforts would be up to the state’s attorney general.

Trump and his allies repeatedly espoused unfounded claims that Biden won the election through voter fraud, leading to the deadly January 6 Capitol occupation to stop Congress from certifying the results.

Employees of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections process ballots in Atlanta, Georgia November 4, 2020 [File: Brandon Bell/Reuters]

The former president currently faces a historic second impeachment trial over his alleged “incitement” of the riot.

New York prosecutors have also opened criminal and civil investigations into Trump over his businesses.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies