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Timeline: The Trump investigation in Fulton County, Georgia

Donald Trump faces fourth indictment
The fourth indictment of former President Donald Trump 01:00:06

Former President Donald Trump and 18 allies have been indicted in Georgia on charges including election fraud, racketeering and other counts related to alleged their efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results. The investigation has been going on for more than two and a half years, and it is now Trump's fourth indictment since April. 

The timeline below highlights many of the key moments in the investigation:


2020

Nov. 3: Election Day. Joe Biden, a Democrat, defeats incumbent President Donald Trump, a Republican, in the presidential election. Biden's victory includes a narrow win in Georgia, a state that had not gone for a Democrat in a presidential election since 1992.

Fani Willis is elected district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia — a county that includes much of the Atlanta metro area.

Nov. 6: Trump tweets about "missing military ballots" in Georgia, and claims he won.

Nov. 12: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, says there was no evidence of voter fraud in the state.

Nov. 13: Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, places one of at least two calls to Raffensperger, who later said he believed Graham wanted him to throw out certain mail-in ballots. Graham denies asking for votes to be tossed.

Nov. 20: Raffensperger and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp certify the election results.

Nov. 25: Trump allies file lawsuit against Kemp, alleging "massive election fraud" committed by a voting machine company. 

Nov. 26: Trump calls Raffensperger an "enemy of the people."

Dec. 1: In a fiery press conference, Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling, a Republican, urged Trump to accept his loss, saying his rhetoric has "gone too far." "Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt," Sterling said.

Dec. 3: Georgia's state Senate holds a hearing on "election integrity," featuring Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, former legal advisers to Trump. Eastman suggests appointing alternative electors who will support Trump in the Electoral College, and Giuliani spreads baseless conspiracy theories, including that 10,000 votes were cast on behalf of dead people. He also falsely accuses two election workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, of election fraud.

Dec. 5: Trump speaks to Kemp on the phone, demands Kemp open a special legislative session and order an audit of mail-in ballots. Kemp does not comply.

Dec. 6: In a memo, Trump-allied attorney Kenneth Chesebro proposed a "a bold, controversial strategy" to overturn the election: appoint alternate electors loyal to Trump in several states.

Dec. 7: The "election fraud" lawsuit against Kemp is dismissed.

Dec. 8: Trump calls Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, who tells Trump that his office had investigated claims of fraud and not found evidence to substantiate.

Dec. 9: A memo circulated among Trump allies includes instructions on how alternate electors could "mimic" legitimate electors, according to special counsel prosecutors.

Dec. 10: Giuliani testifies about what he describes as election irregularities via video feed before a Georgia House committee.

Dec. 14: Members of the Electoral College meet in each state Capitol and cast their votes, officially giving Biden the win. Georgia's electors cast their 16 votes for Biden.

A group of 16 alternate or "fake" electors also gathered at Georgia's Capitol, ostensibly to vote for Trump. They'd later send fake certificates to the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Dec. 15: In a White House meeting, Justice Department officials rebuke Giuliani's claims about Georgia election workers, according to Trump's most recent indictment.

Dec. 23: Frances Watson, the lead investigator for Raffensperger's office, records a phone call in which Trump urges her to find fraud.

Dec. 30: Giuliani addresses a Georgia Senate subcommittee, again spreading misinformation.

2021

Jan. 1: Willis takes office as district attorney of Fulton County.

Jan. 2: In a now-infamous recorded phone call, Trump tells Raffensperger: "All I want to do is this, I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state."

Jan. 6: Trump and allies, including Giuliani, give speeches during a Washington, D.C. rally. They repeatedly invoke election falsehoods about Georgia and other states, including the bogus claim that more than 10,000 votes in Georgia were cast on behalf of dead people. Many in the crowd then proceed to the U.S. Capitol, which becomes the site of a deadly riot.

The presidential election is certified later that night, but Georgia Rep. Jody Hice objects to the inclusion of Georgia's votes in Biden's favor.

Jan. 7: A Republican official is captured on surveillance video escorting computer and data experts into an elections office in Coffee County, Georgia, before an apparent breach of the county's voting systems. 

Jan. 18: A different Republican official is seen granting other data experts access to the office.

Feb. 11: Willis sends letters to Kemp, Raffensperger and Carr requesting they preserve documents related to a "matter…of high priority" her office is investigating. Sources in Kemp's and Raffensperger's offices confirm to CBS News the matter is Trump's Jan. 2, 2021 phone call.

2022

Jan. 20: Willis asks Fulton County's chief judge to impanel a special purpose grand jury to aid in her investigation, in part because "a significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony." Her request is granted soon after.

Jan. 30: Willis requests that the FBI conduct a risk assessment of the Fulton County courthouse and provide security resources, citing Trump's "rhetoric" about prosecutors investigating him.

May 2: The special purpose grand jury comprising 23 people and three alternates convenes. It has subpoena power, but cannot indict. During the next several months it interviews 75 witnesses and subpoenas documents from more.

June 2: Raffensperger testifies before the special purpose grand jury.

June 29: Hice is subpoenaed to appear before the special purpose grand jury.

July 6: Willis' office asks the judge overseeing the special purpose grand jury, Robert McBurney, to compel witness testimony from Giuliani, Graham, Eastman, Chesebro and other "material witnesses."

Graham fights the subpoena, arguing it's an unconstitutional infringement on the Senate's speech and debate clause, which protects federal legislators from certain litigation. Ultimately, he is ordered to testify.

Aug. 15: Giuliani's lawyer says Fulton County prosecutors have described Giuliani as a target of the investigation.

Nov. 22: Graham appears before the special purpose grand jury.

2023

Jan. 9: McBurney dissolves the special purpose grand jury, writing in an order that it had "completed its work" and submitted a report related to its findings.

Jan. 24: Describing herself as "one of the few people to have had the opportunity to read the report," Willis tells McBurney releasing it "at this time" would be inappropriate.

Feb. 16: Willis' office complies with an order by McBurney that a small portion of the report be released. It reveals that grand jurors found that there was not "widespread fraud" that could have overturned the presidential election. They also concluded "that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses" who testified.

March 20: Trump's attorneys, in a 500-page filing, ask McBurney to quash the special purpose grand jury's report and to remove Willis from the case.

May 5: Lawyer Kimberly Debrow reveals in a court filing that at least eight alternate electors had accepted immunity deals in the case.

May 18: Willis indicates in letters to Fulton County's chief judge and sheriff that potential indictments in the case could come between July 31 and Aug. 18.

July 31: McBurney rejects Trump's bid to quash the special purpose grand jury's report and remove Willis from the investigation.

Aug. 14: Two people asked to testify before a grand jury considering charges in the case, former Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and journalist George Chidi, are called to the courthouse a day earlier than anticipated. 

Late that evening, Trump and 18 allies were indicted on charges of election fraud, racketeering and other counts related to alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.   

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