The leader of an Atlanta-based special grand jury that investigated whether former President Donald Trump and his allies illegally interfered in the 2020 election is speaking out, and by doing so, legal experts warn she may be creating hurdles for prosecutors.
Emily Kohrs, a 30-year-old resident of Georgia‘s Fulton County who says she volunteered to serve as forewoman of the panel, appeared for a series of media interviews on Tuesday. She offered an insider’s view of what transpired and teased as many as a dozen indictment recommendations.
When asked by The New York Times whether the special grand jury recommended Trump in particular be indicted, she said, “You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science.”
Kohrs laughed when she told CNN’s Kate Bolduan the list of indictment recommendations is a long one. Kohrs stated she would be “sad” and “frustrated” if the district attorney decides against pursuing charges.
Georgia grand jury foreperson: "I will be sad" if the DA decides against bringing charges against Trump … I will be frustrated if nothing happens." pic.twitter.com/9RfusUCjUX
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 22, 2023
The Associated Press reported its team found Kohrs’ name on subpoenas obtained through open records requests. Media reports, including AP’s, claimed that when Kohrs was interviewed, she appeared to avoid explicitly defying Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney’s order not to discuss jury deliberations during their respective interviews.
Still, legal experts and others were aghast at what they witnessed from Kohrs.
“She shouldn’t be doing this,” said Dan Abrams, ABC News’ chief legal analyst. “It isn’t helpful to the perception of the objectivity of the criminal justice system, and it starts to feel like she’s putting pressure on the district attorney to actually move forward with charges.”
Sunny Hostin, a co-host on ABC’s “The View” who previously worked as federal prosecutor, said she feared Kohrs was “compromising the integrity of the investigation.”
IMPACT OF GEORGIA GRAND JURY FOREWOMAN’S MEDIA TOUR: #TheView co-hosts react to interviews by the forewoman of the grand jury that investigated efforts by former Pres. Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/ljJxOkvyuR
— The View (@TheView) February 22, 2023
National security lawyer Bradley Moss said two things can be true at once.
“1) the little media tour the Georgia special grand jury foreperson did yesterday was obscenely stupid, ill-advised and inappropriate,” Moss said in a tweet. “2) it is highly unlikely the public remarks she made will undermine any actual indictments.”
Olivia Troye, a one-time adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, expressed concern for Kohrs’ well-being, as well as the integrity of the investigation.
“Really hope someone is advising Emily Kohrs on safety & security precautions for her own well-being,” Troye tweeted. “Also really hoping that her decision to go public as a Georgia Grand Jury foreperson, about one of the most significant cases for our country, doesn’t hurt the outcome in the end.”
CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, who is a former federal and state prosecutor, called the situation a “prosecutor’s nightmare.”
Honig also predicted Trump will file a motion to dismiss using Kohrs’ comments if there is an indictment. “The grand juror is doing no favors to prosecutors with this giddy PR romp,” Honig added in a tweet.
Emily Kohrs (and other jurors in Trump investigations, or any investigations for that matter), if you’re listening:
“It’s a prosecutor’s nightmare.”
Former federal and state prosecutor @eliehonig with @andersoncooper discussing effects of grand jury members speaking publicly. pic.twitter.com/s11guYp3Ef
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) February 22, 2023
Indeed, Trump’s legal team is already weighing their options in response to Kohrs’ interviews, sources told ABC News. Trump himself took aim at Kohrs on his Truth Social platform on Wednesday.
“This Georgia case is ridiculous, a strictly political continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time,” Trump said. “Now you have an extremely energetic young woman, the (get this!) ‘foreperson’ of the Racist D.A.’s Special Grand Jury, going around and doing a Media Tour revealing, incredibly, the Grand Jury’s inner workings & thoughts. This is not JUSTICE, this is an illegal Kangaroo Court.”
The special grand jury, which had the authority to subpoena witnesses and documents, but not to issue indictments, was put together at the behest of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in May 2022 and the panel completed its work in January.
Willis, a Democrat, may soon use their findings to pursue charges by impaneling a separate, regular grand jury. “Decisions are imminent,” Willis told a judge last month. The district attorney spoke to the urgency of her investigation in arguing against the release of the special grand jury’s report.
Last week, McBurney ordered the disclosure of three sections, leaving most of the report sealed from the public’s view until charging decisions are made by Willis. One disclosed section said a “majority” of the special grand jury believes perjury was committed by one or more witnesses. Another unsealed section said the panel determined by “unanimous vote” that there was no widespread fraud in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election that could overturn the results.
Although any recommendations that specific individuals be indicted were not disclosed last week, Trump thanked the special grand jury for its patriotism and integrity. “Total exoneration,” he added on Truth Social.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, when Khors was told about Trump’s post, she rolled her eyes and laughed. “Did he really say that?” she asked. “Oh, that’s fantastic. That’s phenomenal. I love it.”