Trump Lawyers Move to Throw Out Georgia Special Grand Jury Report

As the looming New York indictment grabs headlines, Trump’s attorneys are asking a state court in Georgia to throw out a special grand jury’s report centered on the former president’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election there. The lawyers also want Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis to be barred from continuing to investigate or prosecute Trump.

Willis is considering racketeering and conspiracy charges against the former president, according to the New York Times. He faces legal jeopardy because of calls he made in the weeks after the 2020 election to pressure Georgia officials to overturn the election, as well as efforts to assemble an alternate slate of electors. The special grand jury did not have the power to issue indictments itself, but it produced a report for Willis based on the testimony of 75 witnesses as well as phone calls, emails and other documents. However, Trump’s lawyers said the special grand jury was unconstitutionally constituted in the first place and it also failed to protect Trump’s right to due process.

The filing made Monday in Atlanta argues that the Georgia law that allows for special grand juries is unconstitutionally vague because it doesn’t say whether such a grand jury is handling criminal matters or civil matters, the Associated Press reported. The special grand jury was originally impanled in May 2022 and wrapped up its work in December. The report it produced and its recommendations are still under seal based on the order of Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney. If Willis decides to move forward based on the recommendations, he will have to seek charges from a regular grand jury.

Lawyers Jennifer Little and Drew Findling wrote that the special grand jury “involved a constant lack of clarity as to the law, inconsistent applications of basic constitutional protections for individuals being brought before it, and a prosecutor’s office that was found to have an actual conflict, yet continued to pursue the investigation.”

The grand jury’s forewoman went on a media tour last month in which she said multiple people were recommended for indictment, but she declined to say who. Other grand judges have also spoken to the media. In the view of Trump’s lawyers, the forewoman’s media tour in particular “poisoned” the inquiry.

“The foreperson’s public comments in and of themselves also violated notions of fundamental fairness and due process and taint any future grand jury pool,” the pair wrote in the legal filing.

The motion asked that the report be suppressed on these grounds. It was also asked that Willis be disqualified because he had a conflict “exacerbated by instances of forensic misconduct and improper extrajudicial activity.”

The special grand jury heard at least three recordings of phone calls as part of their review. One was a call Trump had with Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in which Trump suggested Raffensperger could find the votes to flip the state in Trump’s favor. Willis began her investigation shortly after this January 2021 call was made public. Members of the special grand jury recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they listened to Trump placing a call to late Georgia house speaker David Ralston. They said they heard the former president ask Ralston to convene a special session of the Legislature to overturn Joe Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia.

Willis said in January a final decision on an indictment is imminent.

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