Timeline: Key moments from the Fulton DA’s Trump probe

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has spent more than two years investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his allies criminally interfered in Georgia’s 2020 elections.

Here are the key developments so far:

Jan. 2, 2021

Trump, scrambling to challenge election results in several swing states, calls Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During the leaked hourlong conversation, Trump urges Raffensperger to “find” the nearly 12,000 votes to reverse his narrow defeat in Georgia.

Feb. 10, 2021

Willis, Fulton’s brand new DA, announces her office is launching a criminal investigation into alleged attempts by Trump to change the outcome of the 2020 election in Georgia. She said the investigation includes but is not limited to “potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

Jan. 20, 2022

Willis requests a special purpose grand jury to aid in her investigation of Trump. She tells members of Fulton County’s Superior Court that a “significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony.”

Jan. 24, 2022

A majority of the judges on the Fulton County Superior Court bench greenlight Willis’ request for a special purpose grand jury, which can meet for a period “not to exceed 12 months.” Judge Robert McBurney is assigned to supervise the jury and receive its reports.

May 2, 2022

From a pool of 200 people, McBurney selects 23 Fulton County residents, as well as three alternates, to sit on the special grand jury. Jurors select a foreperson, later revealed to be Emily Kohrs, and are escorted out of the courthouse by a SWAT team.

June 1, 2022

Bo Rutledge, dean of the University of Georgia law school, becomes the first person to testify before the special grand jury. Rutledge explained presidential election law. He was followed the next day by Raffensperger and his wife, Tricia. In the weeks that follow, jurors issue subpoenas for top state officials, including state Attorney General Chris Carr, House Speaker David Ralston and several other state legislators. They also request the appearance of the 16 “alternate” GOP electors, who met the previous December.

July 5, 2022

The jury signs off on summons for several Trump confidantes and former lawyers who live outside of Georgia. Among those who received the so-called certificates of material witness, which essentially function as subpoenas once approved by judges in their local jurisdictions, were Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

July 15, 2022

News breaks that two high-ranking Georgia Republicans who served as “alternate” presidential electors — state GOP chairman David Shafer and state Sen. Burt Jones, who had weeks earlier won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor — received letters informing them that they are “targets” of the investigation and that they could be indicted. Days later, the DA’s office discloses that the other 14 GOP electors were also sent target letters.

July 21, 2022

Jones seeks to disqualify Willis and her office from investigating him, arguing in court that a fundraiser she held for his Democratic opponent for lieutenant governor created a conflict of interest. McBurney sides with Jones. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia is tasked with deciding whether to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether to subpoena Jones or charge him with any crimes.

Aug. 17, 2022

Giuliani testifies before the special grand jury for roughly six hours, drawing dozens of reporters and television crews to downtown Atlanta after he unsuccessfully challenged his summons. The blockbuster testimony came two days after one of Giuliani’s attorneys confirmed that the former New York city mayor was a target of the investigation.

Aug. 17, 2022

Attorneys for Brian Kemp file a motion seeking to kill a subpoena for his testimony. Earlier plans for the governor to take part in a voluntary interview with Fulton prosecutors were scuttled following an apparent communication breakdown with the DA’s office. About two weeks later, McBurney rules that Kemp must testify, but delays his testimony until after the November elections. Kemp ultimately testifies in mid-November.

Nov. 1, 2022

The Supreme Court effectively forces Graham to testify before the special grand jury. The U.S. senator from South Carolina, who fights his summons longer than any other witness, appears before the panel just before Thanksgiving, answering questions for more than two hours.

Nov. 16, 2022

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the special grand jury. Her comments to the House Jan. 6 committee about conversations she said she had or overheard thrust her into the national spotlight. A few weeks later, the South Carolina Supreme Court forces Meadows to testify.

Jan. 9, 2023

McBurney announces that the special grand jury completed its work and that the panel is being dissolved. Grand jurors recommended their report be released to the public but McBurney defers a decision.

Feb. 16, 2023

Following a ruling by McBurney, three portions of the grand jury’s report, totaling about nine pages, are released. The report states that the grand jury believes that one or more witnesses committed perjury and recommend indictments against them. The excerpts did not specify which witnesses. In the weeks that follow, a half-dozen jurors come forward with their stories, including Kohrs and a handful of others who chose to keep their identities publicly a secret.

March 20, 2023

Trump’s Atlanta attorneys launch a broad attack, arguing that the conduct of jurors, Willis and McBurney tainted the investigation. They asked McBurney to quash the special grand jury’s final report and recuse himself, as well as the DA’s office from the investigation.

April 4, 2023

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg becomes the first prosecutor to bring criminal charges against Trump. He alleges Trump broke New York state law by falsifying business records when he paid hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Trump pleads not guilty,

April 23, 2023

Willis urges local law enforcement to prepare to ramp up security this summer ahead of expected indictments in her long-running probe. She hints that Trump will be among those charged, predicting her announcement “may provoke a significant public reaction.” She later signals her charging decisions will likely come Aug. 7-18.

June 9, 2023

The U.S. Department of Justice unseals a 37-count indictment alleging Trump mishandled classified documents, which he took with him from the White House after leaving the presidency. The following week, Trump appears in U.S. District Court in Miami and, through his attorney, pleads not guilty.