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Georgia prosecutors launch criminal inquiry into Trump's efforts to overturn election

The investigation will look into the phone call in which Trump begged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to reverse Joe Biden's victory.
Image: Voters cast their ballots for the upcoming presidential elections in Atlanta
Voters cast their ballots for the presidential election at State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Oct. 12.Chris Aluka Berry / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Georgia prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the state's election results, NBC News confirmed Wednesday.

The investigation by Fulton County prosecutors will look into a damning phone call in which Trump begged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" the votes to reverse President Joe Biden's victory.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sent a letter Wednesday to state government officials, including Raffensperger, requesting that their offices preserve documents related to the call, a state official with knowledge of the letter said.

NBC News verified the contents of the letter, which explicitly states that the request is part of a criminal investigation into several possible charges, from false statements to "any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration."

A spokesperson for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr's office confirmed that it received the letter and that officials "are in the process of reviewing and synthesizing" it. Gov. Brian Kemp's office also confirmed having received the letter.

Georgia is the second state, after New York, where Trump faces criminal investigations.

Raffensperger's office has also opened a separate investigation into the phone call, NBC News reported this week. His office confirmed that it had opened the inquiry after it received a complaint about Trump's conduct.

During the Jan. 2 phone call, Trump told 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."

Georgia reaffirmed Biden's victory several times after the November election.

Willis suggested an investigation in a statement last month in which she described the phone call as "disturbing."

"Anyone who commits a felony violation of Georgia law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable. Once the investigation is complete, this matter, like all matters, will be handled by our office based on the facts and the law," Willis said at the time.

Willis and Raffensperger did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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The criminal inquiry, first reported Wednesday by The New York Times, comes as the Senate holds its impeachment trial against Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. House Democratic managers who are prosecuting the case will deliver their opening arguments Wednesday, which will include "never-seen-before" video of the deadly riot.

Meanwhile, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has been investigating "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization," Trump's family business, which could involve falsifying business records, tax fraud and insurance fraud. New York Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating four Trump Organization real estate projects and Trump's failed attempt to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills.