118 episodes

True crime investigations from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Veteran legal affairs journalist Bill Rankin takes you inside the courtroom to break down the story and the criminal justice system. This award-winning series investigates Georgia’s most important cases with fact-based reporting. Season 9 focuses on the historic special grand jury investigation of former President Donald Trump in Fulton County, Georgia, led by District Attorney Fani Willis. Learn more about our reporting at ajc.com/breakdown. 

Breakdown AJC Podcasts

    • News
    • 4.5 • 2.5K Ratings

True crime investigations from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Veteran legal affairs journalist Bill Rankin takes you inside the courtroom to break down the story and the criminal justice system. This award-winning series investigates Georgia’s most important cases with fact-based reporting. Season 9 focuses on the historic special grand jury investigation of former President Donald Trump in Fulton County, Georgia, led by District Attorney Fani Willis. Learn more about our reporting at ajc.com/breakdown. 

    Decisions Are Imminent

    Decisions Are Imminent

    A court hearing is held as to whether the Fulton County special purpose grand jury’s final report can be made public right now.
    The most recent episode of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast covers the hearing. Episode 23 – “Decisions Are Imminent” – also includes an interview with a former Atlanta prosecutor who explains why he thinks bringing indictments would set a dangerous precedent.
    At the hearing, Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis has the first word, asking Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney to keep it under seal, at least for the time being.
    Atlanta lawyer Tom Clyde, representing The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and more than a dozen other major news outlets, tells McBurney he should release the report immediately.
    Before the hearing, former President Donald Trump’s lawyers make their first public statement in months and Trump himself posts on social media condemning the investigation and insisting once again he did nothing wrong.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. 
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    • 47 min
    Its Work Is Done

    Its Work Is Done

    The Fulton County special purpose grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies has finished its work.
    In an order signed Jan. 9, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said the special grand jury had finished writing its final report – which, if it recommends bringing charges against the former president, could be one of the most consequential legal documents in recent U.S. history.
    The most recent episode of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast explores the ramifications of the dissolution of the special grand jury. It also ponders the question as to when the final report could be released and, if so, whether some information will have to be redacted before it is made public.
    The special grand jury, which cannot issue indictments, has been investigating whether possible crimes were committed here in Georgia after the 2020 presidential election.
    Episode 22 – “Its Work Is Done” – of Breakdown’s ninth season – “The Trump Grand Jury” – includes interviews with three former district attorneys who oversaw special purpose grand juries and who explain the statutes and case law governing them. And one thing becomes clear: because special grand juries are so rarely used, the process of what happens once one finishes its work is not at all that straightforward.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. 
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    • 30 min
    Presentments

    Presentments

    As the Fulton County special purpose grand jury investigation winds down, it’s highly likely it is putting together its report and recommendations, formally called a presentment.
    The most recent episode of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast explores prior presentments issued by special grand juries and explains how the process plays out.
    Fulton’s special grand jury is investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies for possible criminal interference with the 2020 presidential election. It is not required to write up a presentment, but if it does, will it recommend criminal charges be brought?
    And will the presentment be made public right away? Or will it be delayed, as it was a decade ago over the objections by special grand jurors in neighboring DeKalb County.
    Episode 21 of Breakdown’s ninth season – ‘The Trump Grand Jury’ – also reports on the outcome of the legal battle waged by former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who sought to avoid being summoned to Atlanta and testify before the special grand jury.
    Bill and Tamar want to hear from you. Call anytime with your questions about the special purpose grand jury at (770)810-5297. We'll play back your question and answer it on a future episode of Breakdown.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform.
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    • 35 min
    Breakdown Bonus: It's all politics

    Breakdown Bonus: It's all politics

    Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has legal, practical and political considerations to consider as she investigates former President Donald Trump and his allies for alleged meddling with the 2020 election.

    To explore the latter consideration, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Breakdown podcast turned to Greg Bluestein, the newspaper's politics reporter who broke many of the stories that have become central parts of the special purpose grand jury investigation.

    In a far-reaching interview, Bluestein weighs in on the probe in light of Trump's recent announcement to run again for president, the possible impact of the investigation on the Georgia Republican party and the potential fate of the 16 Republicans who cast fake Electoral College votes for Trump when the official slate of 16 Democrats voted for President Joe Biden.

    Episode 20 - 'It's All Politics' - of Breakdown's ninth season - 'The Trump Grand Jury - also provides updates on attempts by former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to avoid testifying before the special grand jury.

    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform.
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    • 43 min
    The Referee

    The Referee

    Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney says his oversight of the special purpose grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies has been "quite a ride."
    Episode 19 of the ninth season of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Breakdown podcast includes an interview with McBurney, who has now been a judge for 10 years.
    The AJC's metro columnist, Bill Torpy, interviewed McBurney because it has seemed the judge is the busiest member of Georgia's judiciary. McBurney ruled on the challenge to Georgia's abortion law; he presides over a state judicial watchdog panel; he oversees a drug court program; and he is the trial judge in the murder case against Tex McIver, the former Atlanta lawyer charged with killing his wife, Diane.
    The latest episode of "The Trump Grand Jury" also includes interviews with two authors of a Brookings Institute report on the Trump investigation. And it covers a hearing for Trump's former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who has been summoned to testify here in Atlanta.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform.
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    • 48 min
    Eastman's prophecy

    Eastman's prophecy

    In an email sent Dec. 31, 2020, attorney John Eastman shared a thought with fellow members of then-President Donald Trump’s legal team.
    “I have no doubt that an aggressive DA or U.S. Attorney some place will go after both the president and his lawyers once the dust settles on this,” Eastman wrote.
    Eastman, a former law school dean, was one of the architects behind the fake elector scheme and he authored legal memos detailing a plan in which Vice President Mike Pence could refuse to count some of President Joe Biden’s votes.
    As for his email, Eastman turned out to be right. He, the former president and other members of the legal team now find themselves under investigation by a Fulton County special purpose grand jury.
    Episode 18 of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast explores the possible ramifications of emails exchanged between Eastman and other Trump lawyers. The emails were turned over to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and obtained by the news organization Politico.
    The ninth season of Breakdown – “The Trump Grand Jury” – is closely following the special purpose grand jury probe of possible interference in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
    Episode 18 also covers the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s attempt to avoid testifying before the special grand jury. And it explains what happened in a Virginia courtroom where former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also sought to avoid traveling to Atlanta to testify.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform.
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    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
2.5K Ratings

2.5K Ratings

MsNikkinayme ,

A great example of professional journalism!

If you are a person who respects well-rounded, thorough examinations and analysis of current news worthy topics in Georgia, you’ll LOVE this podcast. SO well written and engaging.

WARNING: Based on the negative reviews by what presents as a bunch of racist,uneducated, misinformed, closed minded, fear based white guys, who probably love Ted Cruz and are attracted to be kind of Melissa Greene, after listening, YOU WILL GET ANGRY, SELF-RIGHTEOUS, indignant AND DEFENSIVE. Then you may find yourself bullying and criticizing these well educated, celebrated and respected professional journalists.
SO… If you are a person who:
- supports Trump and his band of seditious followers in their attempt to destroy our democracy via misinformation, pathological lying, and threats
- believes being against fascism (Antifa) makes you un-American
-supported Trumps attack on migrants and the billion dollars wasted on a failed boarder wall
- believes the earth is flat or follows Q-ANON
- sees no value in a college education
- has no critical thinking skills
- hates science
I SUGGEST YOU LISTEN UP. TRY TO OPEN YOUR MIND. TRY TO LEARN.

If you listen and still think this podcast is spouting a radical leftist agenda and you believe in “alternative facts,” please call your dad.
YOU’RE IN A CULT.

Woodjr ,

Same leftwing hate white people narrative

Black racists spouting leftist lies!

figleafkb ,

Biased but very thorough

There is definitely a tone of glee regarding the idea of the former president and his cronies finally facing at least a few notes of music, but the journalists do make a concerted effort to gather sound bites and the opinions of the opposing side of this historic battle.

The reporters are meticulous in explaining the laws at play, even the RICO laws that seem permanently hazy. They’ve really educated me, and present the material in an engaging and even entertaining manner. Even my husband, who goes to great lengths to avoid political news got caught listening over my shoulder! Definitely worth a listen.

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