Why prosecutors are using grand juries to investigate Trump World’s coup

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Grand juries play a major role in the U.S. criminal justice system. And they’re very much in the news these days.

A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, is looking into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in that state. Among the latest witnesses to give testimony to the grand jury was Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Justice Department is in the middle of an investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and it is questioning witnesses before a grand jury as well. Most recently, two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence were questioned in that probe.

A grand jury does not mean that the investigation will lead to any formal criminal charges, which are known as indictments. There was a grand jury that issued subpoenas during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, for example, but no one was charged with any crimes.

In order to understand grand juries and their work, I offer the following explanation of how federal and state grand juries are used in the U.S.

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