March 20, 2023
The Fulton County special grand jury heard a phone call between former President Donald Trump and the late Georgia House Speaker David Ralston as part of its investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, the jury’s foreperson, Emily Kohrs, told NBC News on Wednesday, March 15.
During the December call, Trump attempted to pressure the then-speaker into calling a special legislative session to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, Kohrs said.
The call recording, which was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, lasted about ten minutes, Kohrs said. She recalled that Trump asked Ralston who would stop him from holding a special session. According to Kohrs, Ralston responded, “A federal judge, that’s who.”
Ralston, a Republican who spent more than a decade as Georgia’s House speaker, died in November. Ralston’s former spokesperson and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
The grand jury, which conducted a criminal investigation into whether Trump and his allies made any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections” in the state, completed its work in January—submitting a report on its findings to District Attorney Fani Willis.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled last month that parts of the grand jury’s report could be made public. McBurney also said in the ruling that the report includes recommendations for “who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what,” but those parts would remain sealed for now.
A group of news organizations had petitioned him to make the report public, and he agreed with some of their reasoning.
“[W]hile publication may not be convenient for the pacing of the district attorney’s investigation, the compelling public interest in these proceedings and the unquestionable value and importance of transparency require their release,” McBurney wrote.
Willis’ office had asked that the entire report remain under wraps for the time being.
In unsealed parts of the report released last month, grand jurors said they believed that some witnesses may have lied under oath.
“A majority of the grand jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” said a section of the report released last month. “The grand jury recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”
In an interview with NBC News’ “Nightly News” last month, Kohrs said the grand jury recommended indicting over a dozen people, which “might” include the former president.
“There are certainly names that you will recognize, yes. There are names also you might not recognize,” Kohrs said in the interview.
She said the list of recommended indictments is “not a short list,” and there were “definitely some names you expect,” declining to name anyone specifically in accordance with the judge’s instructions.
“I don’t think that there are any giant plot twists coming,” Kohrs said. “I don’t think there’s any giant ‘that’s not the way I expected this to go at all’ moments. I would not expect you to be shocked.”
Research contact: @NBCNews