Georgia Prosecutor Wants Grand Jury Report In Trump Probe Kept Secret
Fani Willis, the District Attorney of Fulton County, Georgia inside her office chambers in the Fulton County Justice Center Tower in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, September 20, 2022
(Photo by David Walter Banks)

A prosecutor in Georgia requested the findings of a special grand jury investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his allies illegally interfered in the 2020 election not be released as charges are considered.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis argued her case Tuesday in a court hearing on whether to release a report put together by the Atlanta-area panel. The report may include recommendations for indictments as well as other information from the special grand jury’s investigative work. A disclosure could happen in full or with redactions.

“We want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly and we think for future defendants to be treated fairly, it is not appropriate at this time to have this report released,” Willis said. She also told the judge, “decisions are imminent.”

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney was hearing arguments on whether the report is a presentment and is therefore required to be released under Georgia law because the grand jurors recommended their findings be publicized. In addition to the timing, the judge is expected to consider whether the report should be disclosed publicly in full or with redactions.

A group of media organizations filed a brief supporting the release of the report. They called it a “matter of profound public interest that goes to the heart of the nation’s democratic forms of government,” according to The Washington Post. An attorney for the media intervenors, Tom Clyde, made arguments in favor of immediate disclosure during the hearing on Tuesday.

The proceedings ended after about 90 minutes, with the judge saying he would “circle back” on a decision and promising there would be advance notice if he decided in favor of a disclosure.

Trump’s attorneys said in a statement they were not attending the hearing Tuesday, noting the former president was “never subpoenaed nor asked to come in voluntarily by this grand jury or anyone in the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.”

The attorneys, Georgia-based Drew Findling and Marissa Goldberg, added, “We can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump.”

The special grand jury, which had the authority to subpoena witnesses and documents but not to issue indictments, was impaneled at the behest of Willis in May 2022 and completed its work roughly two weeks ago. Willis may use the findings to pursue charges by impaneling a separate, regular grand jury.

Several high-profile witnesses testified before the special grand jury, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Willis, a Democrat, began her investigation after a phone call recording surfaced in which Trump pressed Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes, enough to reverse losing the state to now-President Joe Biden, arguing there was widespread voter fraud. Giuliani and a group of 16 Republicans who served as pro-Trump alternate electors have been designated as targets of the district attorney’s investigation, according to CNN.

Trump often defends the call as “perfect” and broadly rejects claims of wrongdoing. The former president is separately under investigation by the federal government. Special counsel Jack Smith has been tasked with overseeing investigations into Trump’s handling of government documents after leaving office and the circumstances leading up to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Trump announced a third campaign for the White House in November.

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