108 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. 

    Who's Rico?

    Who's Rico?

    The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act has been on the books for more than half a century, and Georgia’s version was enacted in 1980.
    The 13th episode of Season Nine of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast — “The Trump Grand Jury” — takes a deep look at RICO. The episode traces its origin as a prosecutorial weapon to take Mafia dons off the streets. It also looks at how RICO has been used in recent years against schoolteachers, a metro Atlanta sheriff and street gangs.
    Legal experts following the Fulton County special purpose grand jury investigation into what happened here after the 2020 presidential election say that racketeering charges could ultimately be brought in this case.
    Episode 13 — “Who’s Rico?” — also looks at a key member of U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s legal team: Don McGahn. McGahn is one of three lawyers hired by Graham who contends the U.S. Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause protects him from having to honor his out-of-state material witness subpoena and testify before the special grand jury.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. You can also stream it above.
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    • 39 min
    Breakdown Bonus: What happened in Coffee County, Georgia

    Breakdown Bonus: What happened in Coffee County, Georgia

    The latest episode of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Breakdown” podcast takes a close look at the data breach at the Coffee County elections office which occurred one day after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
    Podcast hosts Bill Rankin and Tamar Hallerman interview Mark Niesse, the AJC’s elections and voting rights expert.
    Niesse has covered the wild developments surrounding the Coffee County data breach on Jan. 7, 2021, since news of it first surfaced. He explains how it happened, why news of it first came to light this past May and why state elections officials should be alarmed.
    The Fulton County special purpose grand jury, which is investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies, has issued subpoenas to Sidney Powell and the data firm SullivanStrickler. Powell, who was once a lawyer for the Trump campaign, oversaw the breach and hired the data firm.
    Niesse, who was at the Cobb County audit of absentee ballots, also recalls the unusual and sudden visit by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meadows was told he could not go inside to see what was going on. And Niesse also discusses the state legislative hearings he covered in December 2020 when Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani testified and presented now-debunked evidence of voter fraud.
    Separately, the 12th episode of “The Trump Grand Jury” also explains why the Fulton special grand jury may be interested in hearing from former Georgia congressman and House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. You can also stream it on your computer above.
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    • 41 min
    Will Trump be invited?

    Will Trump be invited?

    Will Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis subpoena former President Donald Trump before the special purpose grand jury?
    So far, Willis has sent out-of-state witness subpoenas to Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows; close ally Lindsey Graham, the U.S. senator from South Carolina; and his inner circle of lawyers who tried to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
    Episode 11 of “The Trump Grand Jury” includes interviews of criminal defense lawyers, law professors and former prosecutors who weigh the pros and cons of trying to compel the former president to come to Atlanta and testify.
    Since convening in May, the special purpose grand jury has heard testimony from more than 30 witnesses in its investigation of what happened in Georgia in the weeks and months after the 2020 presidential election.
    In light of recent public comments made by Trump, Episode 11 also revisits another hotly disputed presidential election: the 2000 contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore. This race, like the 2020 election, was decided long after election night and only after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Bush v. Gore.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. You can also stream it on your computer above.
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    • 40 min
    Closing In

    Closing In

    The Fulton County special purpose grand jury investigation is closing in on former President Donald Trump.
    Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff and close advisor, has been served an out-of-state witness subpoena to appear before the grand jury. The 10th episode of “The Trump Grand Jury,” the ninth season of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast, explores the ramifications of Meadows’ subpoena.
    The special purpose grand jury has been meeting since May to investigate Trump and his allies over what happened in Georgia in the months following the 2020 presidential election.
    Others, including lawyer Sidney Powell, who briefly represented the Trump campaign, have also been served out-of-state subpoenas.
    All the while, District Attorney Fani Willis continues her string of courtroom victories against witnesses who have tried to assert privileges and immunities as a way of not appearing before the 23-person special purpose grand jury.
    Episode 10 covers a court hearing pitting lawyers for Gov. Brian Kemp against Fulton prosecutors as well as Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney’s cleverly written ruling that is issued just a few days later. The episode also covers developments in the subpoenas issued to Trump’s inner circle of attorneys and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. You can also stream it on your computer from ajc.com.
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    • 42 min
    The Pinball Machine

    The Pinball Machine

    AJC journalists Bill Rankin and Tamar Hallerman focus on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's grand jury appearance and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham's attempts to avoid his testimony by the Fulton County special purpose grand jury of former President Donald Trump and his allies for what happened in Georgia after the 2020 presidential election.
    Giuliani, who has been Trump's personal lawyer, showed up at the Fulton courthouse to testify before the grand jury after his lawyers had tried unsuccessfully to postpone it.
    Graham, who placed two phone calls to the Secretary of State's office in the weeks after the election, was scheduled to testify before the special grand jury on Tuesday. But the federal appeals court in Atlanta - the fifth court so far to be involved in Graham's case - stepped in two days before the South Carolina senator was to appear and delayed his appearance.
    Rankin and Hallerman also cover the dustup between Gov. Brian Kemp and the Fulton District Attorney's Office and decisions by judges in Colorado and New Mexico ordering two other lawyers who represented the Trump campaign to come to Atlanta and testify before the grand jury.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. You can also stream it on your computer from ajc.com.
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    • 45 min
    Trump’s new legal team

    Trump’s new legal team

    Former President Donald Trump has assembled a legal team to defend him before the Fulton County special purpose grand jury that is investigating possible meddling that occurred in Georgia after the 2020 presidential election.
    The eighth episode of “The Trump Grand Jury,” the ninth season of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Breakdown” podcast, introduces listeners to Trump’s new attorneys.
    Atlanta lawyer Drew Findling is nationally known for representing hip-hop superstars and, in the past, has been a strong critic of the former president. Jennifer Little is a former prosecutor who has helped targets of criminal probes get out of jams. And Decatur lawyer Dwight Thomas is considered to be an expert on special purpose grand juries, having represented clients before three of them.
    The episode also covers former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to delay his testimony before the Fulton grand jury. And it notes that Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, learns he is a target of the investigation.
    There is also a court battle waged by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to quash his material witness subpoena. His lawyers, including former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn, appeared in Atlanta before U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May to argue the senator’s case.
    You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. You can also stream it on your computer from ajc.com.
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    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
2.5K Ratings

2.5K Ratings

pjbrock ,

Back and forth

I love this podcast I’ve been listening since day one but the back and forth of narration is hard to keep my attention please just one person talk not one paragraph and another paragraph spoken by 2 ppl love you Bill

HTR Mom ,

❤️

I eagerly wait EVERY week for their Breakdown. Clear and factual with just enough tease to make it more than reading the paper. I’m in N.C. So I’m not able to be in the courtroom. The Breakdown gives me the info so I don’t get disinformation.

var202020 ,

Very disappointed

The early seasons of this show were entertaining and informative. You could tell the presenters had their own political biases, but they did a pretty good job of keeping them out of the reporting (usually because the story was apolitical). That was, of course, until they decided to cover former President Trump and his shenanigans in Georgia. I can’t imagine why the AJC would choose to alienate half of its audience, but the idea of fair, unbiased reporting has been thrown out the window for this season.

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