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Lindsey Graham among those who Georgia special grand jury recommended for charges in 2020 election probe

Sen. Lindsey Graham and two other senators were among those that a special purpose grand jury recommended be charged in the Fulton County DA's election interference probe -- but were never charged -- according to the panel's full report that was released publicly on Friday.

A Georgia judge released the findings of the panel, which aided in District Attorney Fani Wills' investigation into efforts of Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results in the state, which in turn led to last month's sweeping racketeering indictment against Trump and 18 others.

The special purpose grand jury, seated in 2022, did not have the power to indict but gathered evidence as part of the nearly eight-month probe and subsequently made sealed recommendations about who should be charged in the case. Willis was not bound by their recommendations.

MORE: Trump may seek to have his Georgia election interference case removed to federal court

Graham, speaking to reporters following the release of the report, defended his decision to place calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for information regarding the 2020 election.

"What I did was consistent with my job as being a United States senator and Chairman of the Judiciary committee," Graham, who was not charged in the DA's probe, said. "I think the system in this country is getting off the rails and we have to be careful not to use the legal system as a political tool."

Graham said he had an obligation to determine the facts of the 2020 election, and reiterated that he ultimately voted to certify the election results in every state, including Georgia.

"If it ever becomes impossible or politically dangerous or legally dangerous for a U.S. senator to call people and find out how an election was run, God help us all," Graham said. "The next election, if I have questions, I will do the same."

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump walks to speak with reporters before departure from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta. (Alex Brandon/AP)
PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump walks to speak with reporters before departure from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta. (Alex Brandon/AP)

In addition to Graham (R-S.C.), then-Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) were among those the special purpose grand jury recommended for charges, but were not ultimately charged. The panel specifically recommended the three senators be charged with the racketeering charge that the DA ultimately brought against all of the 19 defendants in her indictment.

Others recommended for charges included former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump 2024 campaign senior adviser Boris Epshteyn and attorneys Cleta Mitchell and Lin Wood. None were charged in the DA's probe.

In total, the special purpose grand jury recommended charges against 39 individuals. Among the others were a number of so-called "fake electors" who later ended up cooperating with the DA's investigation.

Flynn's attorney, Jesse Binnall, said the special grand jury's report represented the work of a "politically-motivated prosecutor" who was seeking to "interfere in the 2024 election."

"This baseless witch hunt isn't based on the facts, or the law, or reality," Binnall said. "General Michael Flynn will continue to fight for the truth, for America First principles, and for Donald Trump's return to The White House in 2024."

A separate regular grand jury returned the indictment against Trump and the 18 others last month. All 19 have pleaded not guilty.

MORE: Judge 'very skeptical' of DA's push to try Trump, 18 co-defendants together in Georgia election case

Though the special purpose grand jury did not have indictment power, Willis has said she needed its subpoena power to compel testimony from witnesses who would not comply with the investigation otherwise.

Prosecutors said the 26-person panel heard testimony from over 75 witnesses, including Graham and other close Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

The special grand jury's work culminated in a sealed report with charging recommendations, which was delivered to the DA in January. Judge Robert McBurney ordered most of it to remain under seal "until such time as the District Attorney completes her investigation," but allowed a few portions of the report to be released -- minus the charging recommendations.

In ordering the full report to now be released, McBurney wrote that the filing of the indictment last month "eliminates the due process concerns" that previously kept the majority of the report sealed.

Lindsey Graham among those who Georgia special grand jury recommended for charges in 2020 election probe originally appeared on abcnews.go.com