WABE's Week In Review: Georgia's outsize role in Jan. 6 hearings as upcoming runoffs test Trump's sway

BJay Pak, former U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, June 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

On Thursday, world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, selected Atlanta as one of the cities to host 2026 World Cup matches.

Georgia on their mind…

This coming Tuesday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his Chief Operating Officer Gabe Sterling are set to testify at the Jan. 6 hearings in Washington D.C.

It follows testimony from former U.S. Attorney in Georgia BJay Pak, who said he tried to debunk President Donald Trump’s false election claims.

After the election, former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr asked Pak to investigate a claim being spread by Trump’s former lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who claimed video footage showed a “suitcase full of ballots” being brought into State Farm Arena in Atlanta, where votes were being counted.

“Nothing irregular happened in the counting and the allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false,” said Pak, whose investigators determined it was an official ballot lockbox.

Pak said he reported back to Barr, who relayed the findings to Trump. The former president refused to accept the findings. Last year, Pak told a Senate panel that he resigned after learning Trump planned to fire him.

Last week, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards testified about the violence of the rioters on Jan. 6. Edwards is a Georgia native and University of Georgia graduate.

“There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up,” said Edwards on June 10. “I was slipping in people’s blood. It was carnage, it was chaos.”

Another test of Trump’s influence in Georgia…

No Trump-endorsed candidates in the May primary elections in Georgia defeated a statewide Republican incumbent. Trump had targeted several GOP incumbents, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger, who refused Trump’s requests to overturn the election in the state. But there are other races in Tuesday’s runoff election that feature a Trump-backed GOP candidate against another Republican.

Also in this episode…

–Martha Dalton reports on Atlanta school districts bracing for the end of a universal free meal program.

Emily Wu Pearson has more on the increase in electronic monitoring of immigrants who are awaiting their immigration cases.

Molly Samuel looks at a controversial study that claims monarch butterflies are not in as much trouble as previously thought.