Judge McBurney told potential jurors to announce that they had a potential conflict if they were convinced that a crime had definitely been committed in regard to the 2020 elections — or if they were convinced that no crimes at all had occurred. Roughly 25 said they had such a conflict.
The special grand jurors will issue subpoenas, hear testimony and review documents. The meetings will be confidential, and jurors will not be allowed to discuss the proceedings outside of their meetings. But the judge noted that witnesses could speak about the proceedings publicly if they so wished.
In January, a majority of the judges in the Fulton County Superior Court system approved Ms. Willis’s request for the special grand jury, allowing it to meet for up to a year beginning May 2. After the panel makes recommendations regarding criminal prosecutions, it will be up to Ms. Willis, a Democrat, to return to a regular grand jury to seek criminal indictments.
Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University, said that impaneling the grand jury was a sign that prosecutors had acknowledged the complexity, sensitivity and unique nature of the case. Among other things, Ms. Willis has raised the possibility that Mr. Trump and his allies violated the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. Like the federal RICO law, which has been used to target the Mafia and other organized crime networks, Georgia’s state racketeering statute is a tool that can be used to go after a broad range of groups that take part in patterns of criminal conduct. Proving that case would require a deep examination of multiple moving parts.
Among them, potentially, are a call that Mr. Graham made to Mr. Raffensperger asking whether mail-in votes could be discarded in counties with high rates of questionable ballot signatures; a visit Mr. Meadows made to suburban Atlanta to monitor an election audit there; and postelection appearances that Mr. Giuliani made before state legislative committees in which he asked for an alternative pro-Trump slate of electors to be appointed.
“There’s a lot more than just the phone call,” said Mr. Kreis, who added that the case involved areas of the law that were “underdeveloped.”